Director of the Visiting Fellows Programme
Anna Korhonen
Head of International Affairs
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Eeva Korteniemi
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Location & Connections


Visiting Fellows 2017–2018

Shaban Darakchi, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Bulgaria
“Homosexual Cold War: Social Construction of Homosexual Male Identities in Bulgaria between the Russian Anti-Homosexual Propaganda and the EU Human Rights Directives”
(3 October – 3 December 2017)

Shaban Darakchi holds a PhD degree in Sociology. Dr. Darakchi is a junior researcher at the Bulgarian Academy of Science. His main professional interests are gender, sexuality, ethnicity and religion in Eastern Europe and Bulgaria. His doctoral thesis explores the changing gender roles and notions of sexuality among the Bulgarian Muslims. His book based on this study is one of the first complete works on gender studies in Bulgaria. He is currently working on a project investigating the structure and the development of LGBTI minorities in Bulgaria in context of the globalization. He has published one book and 18 articles devoted to the intersections of gender and sexuality. In 2014 he was a Fulbright Visiting Fellow at the University of Hartford in Connecticut, USA and in 2016 he spent 6 months at the Australian Centre for Sex Research as an Endeavour Fellow. Shaban has also been working as a trainer in non-formal education projects and he has participated as an invited speaker to conferences and summer schools in many European countries, Canada, South Africa, Australia and the USA.

Short description of ongoing research:
My current research project aims to investigate the social construction of homosexual identities in Bulgaria. Homosexual practices were outlawed in Bulgaria under socialism and they were prosecuted by the communist state. After 1989, the issue of homosexuality entered public discourse but support for homosexuality, and in particular male homosexuality, encountered strong resistance from the mainstream media. This resistance was driven by the homophobic attitudes of political and religious elites, which resulted in high levels of discrimination and abuse against sexual minorities and a lack of political will and measures to address this abuse. Ironically, the expansion of the EU in 2007 shifted the perspective on homosexuality, confronting the Bulgarian government with numerous issues in the process of transposing the EU directives regarding the rights of LGBTI people. This study will be one of the first to explore the social construction of gay identity in Bulgaria and it will make a very important contribution to the existing literature on the topic of gay identities. The main objective of the study is to investigate the social construction of gay male identities, focusing on what kind of different experiences and difficult exigencies have been faced by three generations of gay men in Bulgaria in comparison to other communities globally.

Email: shaban.darakchiev[AT]
Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Meri Kulmala, Saara Ratilainen