Exhibition on a Russian-Ukrainian genderqueer hero

An exhibition is running at Catz this month which tells the story of a Russian-Ukrainian genderqueer hero.

Aleksandr Aleksandrov (born Nadezhda Durova) (1783-1866) was a genderqueer hero of the Napoleonic wars and a prolific and celebrated author.

This exhibition pulls together various elements of Aleksandrov’s life, including:

  • original editions of Aleksandrov’s works, on loan from the collections of Oxford libraries
  • a selection of contemporary adaptations of his biography
  • some of the latest international research and impact projects that explore his work.

Three books in a glass display case. Two are in Russian text and one reads, 'The Lady Cavalier'.
Above: one of the exhibition cases, featuring two Russian language biographies of Aleksandrov and one English-language adaptation of a biography

The exhibition has been curated by Dr Margarita Vaysman (University of St Andrews), Visiting Research Fellow at Catz for Trinity term 2022.

The research and impact projects featured in the exhibition includes Dr Vaysman’s, as well as that of Dr Yasemin Hacioglu (University of Stavanger, Norway).

Support installing the exhibition was also provided by Catz library staff: Barbara Costa (Librarian) and Chloe Edwards (Library Assistant), with design by Sainte Maria Illustration. The books displayed are exhibited courtesy of the Taylorian and St John’s College libraries.

The exhibition runs in the College’s Wolfson Library until 31 July. To visit, please contact the library on

Online gallery

For those unable to attend the exhibition in person, the explanatory texts accompanying the items on display can be viewed online. Click each image below to view it as a PDF (please contact should you require the texts in an alternative format).

An image of text on a paper.     An image of text on a paper.     An image of text on a paper.

Details of all events at Catz can be found on the College events page »

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