Essay on The Philosophy of Sex and Gender in Russia

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The Philosophy of Sex and Gender in Russia

This presentation focuses on the main philosophical approaches toward analyzing the notions of "sex" and "gender" in Russia since the nineteenth century. I analyze the conceptions and ideas which were developed by Aleksey Khomyakov, Nicolai Chernyshevsky, Leo Tolstoy, Fedor Dostoevsky, Vladimir Solovyov and some other philosophers. Then, I discuss the concept of emancipation of women within the framework of Marxist-Leninist theory, which played a role in the state's "women's philosophy" in the Soviet period, and within the existing modern viewpoints. My methodology is based on concepts and guidelines developed in feminist philosophy. One of the goals, as put forward by feminist philosophy, is
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This problem can be quite successfully solved on the basis of Western philosophic studies (see works of the above authors).

The Russian philosophy, however, has not so far become a subject of feminist analysis either in Russia or in the West. Therefore, my research in this field could be considered rather novel.

But before analyzing the subject I would like to clarify the language and the terms I am going to use. The problem is that in order to adequately express the meaning of the concepts-in-question it would not be quite correct to use the word "sex", when we talk about anatomical and biological pecularities of men and women, or "gender", when we talk about social and/or cultural issues or the symbolics of the masculine and the feminine. In the Russian philosophy of the last century, the term "sex" in some concepts meant both the biological nature of males and females and Eros and love, while in some - what today we would term "gender". I truly understand that the term "theology of sex" does sound somewhat odd in the English language. Nevertheless, I believe that it most adequately denotes the meaning implied in this theory.

The subject of sex was being widely discussed by Russian philosophers since as early as the middle of the nineteenth century. Alexis Khomyakov's

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