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 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, transgender 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 “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, a larger extended family, or a family with more than two parents. Nuclear families typically center on a married couple who may have any number of children.



8. Meta society is a set of data metaphors about interacting communities that 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. 



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, 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.