Denis Maksimov | Avenir Institute

In this episode of Pythi­an School of Futures, Denis Mak­si­mov unpacks the term super­nor­mal­i­ty as a method of break­ing down het­ero­nor­ma­tiv­i­ty to ren­der its unabid­ing author­i­ty on life pow­er­less. Super­nor­mal­i­ty or supra­nor­mal refers to the abol­ish­ment of any estab­lished con­cep­tion of nor­mal­i­ty. As notions such as nor­mal or nat­ur­al are instru­ments to demo­nize and cast out uncom­pro­mis­ing forms of the oth­er from the whole. Today the women and the LGBTIQ+ strug­gle are both play­ing a lead­ing role to undo con­sti­tu­tions that under­pin speciesism, racism, and sex­ism. Gen­er­at­ing sub­jec­tiv­i­ties dri­ven by oth­er­ness, queer­ness, strange­ness, and weirdness.

Inspired by the his­tor­i­cal fig­ures that man­i­fest­ed pecu­liar­i­ties with pride and con­fi­dence, this episode delves into the neg­a­tive effects of nor­ma­tiv­i­ty on lan­guage, cul­ture, iden­ti­ty, and over­all life. As the supra­nor­mal exor­cist of Avenir Insti­tute, Denis Mak­si­mov invites lis­ten­ers to imag­ine intel­li­gent and cun­ning ways to purge the demons of the old world to begin build­ing some­thing queer anew today. 

Episode Notes:

           1.Supernormality or supra­nor­mal­i­ty is being so extra­or­di­nary or pecu­liar as to sug­gest pow­ers that break the laws of nature or nor­mal­i­ty. It referred to oth­er­ness, strange­ness, bizarreness, and queerness. 



       2. Queer is an umbrel­la term for sex­u­al and gen­der minori­ties who are not het­ero­sex­u­al or are not cis­gen­der. Queer the­o­ry is a crit­i­cal dis­course devel­oped in the 1990s in order to decon­struct (or ‘to queer’) sex­u­al­i­ty and gen­der in the wake of gay iden­ti­ty pol­i­tics. Queer the­o­rists expand sex­u­al­i­ty as a dis­cur­sive social con­struc­tion, flu­id, plur­al, and con­tin­u­al­ly nego­ti­at­ed rather than a nat­ur­al, fixed, core identity.


     3.‘The rep­re­sen­ta­tion of gen­der is its con­struc­tion,’ declares the Ital­ian-Amer­i­can fem­i­nist the­o­rist Tere­sa de Lau­retis, who coined the term ‘queer the­o­ry’ in 1990. Queer the­o­rists fore­ground those who do not neat­ly fit into con­ven­tion­al cat­e­gories, such as bisex­u­als, trans­ves­tites, trans­gen­dered peo­ple, and trans­sex­u­als. Queer the­o­ry has itself been a sig­nif­i­cant influ­ence on cul­tur­al and lit­er­ary the­o­ry, post­colo­nial­ism, and soci­ol­o­gy, and ‘queer­ing’ is now applied also to the ‘bound­aries’ of aca­d­e­m­ic disciplines. 



     4. Gen­der iden­ti­ty is the per­son­al sense of one’s own gen­der. The term gen­der iden­ti­ty was orig­i­nal­ly coined by Robert J. Stoller in 1964. Gen­der iden­ti­ty can cor­re­late with a per­son­’s assigned sex at birth or can dif­fer from it.  While a per­son may express behav­iors, atti­tudes, and appear­ances con­sis­tent with a par­tic­u­lar gen­der role, such expres­sion may not nec­es­sar­i­ly reflect their gen­der iden­ti­ty. Some peo­ple do not iden­ti­fy with some, or all, of the aspects of gen­der assigned to their bio­log­i­cal sex; some of those peo­ple are trans­gen­der, non-bina­ry, or genderqueer. 



     5. Tere­sa de Lau­retis is an Ital­ian author and Dis­tin­guished Pro­fes­sor Emeri­ta of the His­to­ry of Con­scious­ness at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, San­ta Cruz. She coined the term of ‘queer the­o­ry’ in 1990. Her research tra­jec­to­ries cov­er semi­otics, psy­cho­analy­sis, film the­o­ry, lit­er­ary the­o­ry, fem­i­nism, wom­en’s stud­ies, les­bian- and queer studies.



    6. Gay mar­riage also known as same-sex mar­riage is the mar­riage of two peo­ple of the same sex or gen­der, entered into in a civ­il or reli­gious cer­e­mo­ny. There are records of same-sex mar­riage dat­ing back to the first cen­tu­ry. In the mod­ern era, mar­riage equal­i­ty was first grant­ed to same-sex cou­ples in the Nether­lands on 1 April 2001. As of Jan­u­ary 2021, same-sex mar­riage was legal­ly per­formed and rec­og­nized in 29 countries.



   7. A nuclear fam­i­ly, ele­men­tary fam­i­ly or con­ju­gal fam­i­ly is a fam­i­ly group con­sist­ing of two par­ents and their chil­dren (one or more). It is in con­trast to a sin­gle-par­ent fam­i­ly, the larg­er extend­ed fam­i­ly, or a fam­i­ly with more than two par­ents. Nuclear fam­i­lies typ­i­cal­ly cen­ter on a mar­ried cou­ple which may have any num­ber of children.



   8. Meta soci­ety is a set of data metaphors about inter­act­ing com­mu­ni­ties which are linked by the dis­per­sal of mul­ti­ple, poten­tial­ly inter­act­ing species. It is based on the under­stand­ing of estab­lish­ing a more mean­ing­ful and col­lab­o­ra­tive soci­ety than today by restruc­tur­ing the indi­vid­u­al’s per­spec­tive and tra­di­tions while build­ing soci­ety. It aims to estab­lish a new soci­ety that advo­cates that in con­tem­pla­tion of serv­ing the indi­vid­ual, the soci­ety must first be served.


    9. The Urban Insti­tute is a Wash­ing­ton D.C.-based think tank that car­ries out eco­nom­ic and social pol­i­cy research to “open minds, shape deci­sions, and offer solu­tions.” The Urban Insti­tute mea­sures pol­i­cy effects, com­pares options, shows which stake­hold­ers get the most and least, tests con­ven­tion­al wis­dom, reveals trends, and makes costs, ben­e­fits, and risks explicit.



    10. Black Lives Mat­ter (BLM) is a decen­tral­ized polit­i­cal and social move­ment protest­ing against inci­dents of police bru­tal­i­ty and all racial­ly moti­vat­ed vio­lence against black peo­ple. Since 2013, the move­ment has played an active role in many rights-based social crit­i­cal inci­dents and strug­gles with racist treatment. 

The move­ment returned to nation­al head­lines in the U.S.and gained fur­ther inter­na­tion­al atten­tion dur­ing the glob­al George Floyd protests in 2020 fol­low­ing the killing of George Floyd by Min­neapo­lis police offi­cer Derek Chau­vin. An esti­mat­ed 15 mil­lion to 26 mil­lion peo­ple par­tic­i­pat­ed in the 2020 Black Lives Mat­ter protests in the Unit­ed States, mak­ing it one of the largest move­ments in the coun­try’s his­to­ry. The move­ment com­pris­es many views and a broad array of demands but they cen­ter on crim­i­nal jus­tice reform.



    11. Cleopa­tra VII Philopa­tor was the queen of Egypt as a mem­ber of the Ptole­ma­ic dynasty, she was a descen­dant of its founder Ptole­my I Sot­er, a Mace­don­ian Greek gen­er­al and com­pan­ion of Alexan­der the Great. After the death of Cleopa­tra, Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire, mark­ing the end of the sec­ond and last Hel­lenis­tic state and the age that had last­ed since the reign of Alexan­der. Her native lan­guage was Koine Greek, and she was the only Ptole­ma­ic ruler to learn the Egypt­ian language. 



    12. Mar­cus Anto­nius (Mark Antony) was a Roman politi­cian and gen­er­al under Julius Cae­sar who played a crit­i­cal role in the trans­for­ma­tion of the Roman Repub­lic from a con­sti­tu­tion­al repub­lic into the auto­crat­ic Roman Empire. Antony and Cleopa­tra had a love affair. The ani­mos­i­ty between Antony and Octa­vian erupt­ed into civ­il war in 31 BC, as the Roman Sen­ate, at Octa­vian’s direc­tion, declared war on Cleopa­tra and pro­claimed Antony a trai­tor. Lat­er that year, Antony was defeat­ed by Octa­vian’s forces at the Bat­tle of Actium. Antony and Cleopa­tra fled to Egypt where, after a minor vic­to­ry at the Bat­tle of Alexan­dria, they com­mit­ted suicide.



   13. Augus­tus, also called Augus­tus Cae­sar, adopt­ed the name Gaius Julius Cae­sar Octa­vianus, the first Roman emper­or, fol­low­ing the repub­lic, which had been destroyed by the dic­ta­tor­ship of Julius Cae­sar, his great-uncle, and adop­tive father. His auto­crat­ic regime is known as the prin­ci­pate because he was the Prin­ceps, the first cit­i­zen, at the head of that array of out­ward­ly revived repub­li­can insti­tu­tions that alone made his autoc­ra­cy pow­er­ful. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustus


   14. Eliz­a­beth I, queen of Eng­land and Ire­land, bynames Vir­gin Queen (1558–1603). Eliz­a­beth was the daugh­ter of Hen­ry VIII and Anne Boleyn and she nev­er mar­ried. Dur­ing a peri­od, often called the Eliz­a­bethan Age, when Eng­land assert­ed itself vig­or­ous­ly as a major Euro­pean pow­er in pol­i­tics, com­merce, and the arts. Although her small king­dom was threat­ened by grave inter­nal divi­sions, Elizabeth’s blend of shrewd­ness, courage, and majes­tic self-dis­play inspired ardent expres­sions of loy­al­ty and helped uni­fy the nation against for­eign ene­mies. She was the most pow­er­ful woman of the Gold­en Age of England.