Olia Kazakevich is a PhD Candidate at the Department of Gender Studies, Central European University (Vienna). She has a background in journalism and received her master’s in gender studies in 2017 at CEU. In her doctoral research “On the politics of beauty: Mothers of disabled children and the limits of (national) optimism,” she explores the relationships between disability, beauty/femininity and care in contemporary Russia by focusing on charity beauty makeovers for mothers of disabled children. In charity makeovers, the peculiar conjunction of beauty, charity intervention, and the proximity to disability, unfolding in the lives of mothers of disabled children as they increasingly become a convenient object of surveillance and control, can be seen as a site through which to analyze cultural anxieties and tensions around disability and citizenship in post-Soviet neoliberalism. This project aims to contribute to the study of post-Soviet Russia’s gender and disability politics through the analysis of the affective attachment to the fantasies of a good life recruited by, and for, those living through the historical present of the postsocialist space.
Olia’s research interests include cultural theory, feminist theory, queer theory, postsocialism, popular culture, beauty studies, critical disability studies and social psychoanalytic theories.
In the fall term 2021, Olia served as a Visiting Lecturer at the Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg, Russia. She designed and taught an MA course in gender studies. From October 2021 to February 2022 she is on a fellowship as a Visiting PhD student at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna.