Cite as: Adi Kuntsman, ‘Belonging, Violence, Complicity: From Queer Diaspora to Queer Necropolitics’, lecture presented at the conference Diaspora and its Others: Narratives, Nomads, and Impossibilities, ICI Berlin, 26 March 2015, video recording, mp4, 25:50 <>
26 Mar 2015

Belonging, Violence, Complicity

From Queer Diaspora to Queer Necropolitics
By Adi Kuntsman
How can we think about queer longings to belong without disregarding the complicity of queerness in racial, militarist, and colonial formations? What are the ways to approach queer displacements critically yet responsibly? What is the queer currency of ‘diaspora’ in a world where only some queer lives matter while others are destined for erasure, oblivion, and death? This talk is a meditation on the political, geographic, and conceptual terrains where ‘queer’ meets ‘diaspora’ – a meditation which draws, in part, on my own work on post-Soviet queer migranthood in Israel/Palestine, on queer necropolitics (with Jin Haritaworn and Silvia Posocco), and includes a virtual journey into the last two decades of critical queer scholarship.

Adi Kuntsman is lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. Kuntsman published extensively on queer migration, politics and digital cultures. Kuntsman’s recent books include Figurations of Violence and Belonging: Queerness, Migranthood and Nationalism in Cyberspace and BeyondQueer Necropolitics (co-edited with Jin Haritaworn and Silvia Posocco); and Digital Militarism: Israeli Occupation in the Social Media Age (co-authored with Rebecca Stein). For more information please visit the website.


ICI Berlin
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Video in English

Format: mp4
Length: 00:25:50
First published on:
Rights: © ICI Berlin

Part of the Conference

Diaspora and its Others: Narratives, Nomads, and Impossibilities / Adi Kuntsman, Damani Partridge

The question of diaspora is bound to movement and its narration, but in an aberrant way. A narration of movement is generally marked by departure, passage, and arrival. Diaspora, while certainly shaped by these marks, tends to disrupt their relations. Its dynamics of non-belonging, multiple-belonging, and the in-between serve to express movements that could be narrated as both never arriving and never beginning. Indeed, the question of diaspora is inseparable from the question of how to move, how to make one’s way, in contexts in which one must negotiate the impossibilities of belonging.

Diaspora designates those who are ‘loose in the world’ (James Clifford) and encapsulates variegated historical, post-colonial, political, and cultural contexts. Contemporary uses of the term extend well beyond the classical Jewish-oriented one and are more accommodating of a multiplicity of experiences. Accordingly, it has emerged as a means of expressing the negotiations of non-Jewish groups with the impossibilities of belonging. In this sense, the question of diaspora, today, is inflected by the relationship between its Jewish and non-Jewish iterations: In what sense does the former provide a paradigm for the term’s general meaning? And in what sense might non-Jewish diasporas press us to rethink such a paradigm?

Furthermore, the ontological, rhetorical, and embodied aspects of diaspora – which are marked by displacement, exile, and the transnationalization of identity politics, and which are informed by histories of persecution and violence – raise questions about the relationships between queer subjects and notions of belonging, whether to a collective, a family, a nation, or a ‘home’. What are the ways in which queerness emerges and exists? How does it enable and enact migration, identity trans/formation, and political affiliation along racial and affective trajectories? And while diaspora cannot (and should not) be reduced to geopolitical entities or categories, how do the uses of this term by different groups – racial, national, and sexual – occupy, refuse, and shape the public? These questions indicate the complexities of narrating an existence that does not belong where it is supposed to belong. Faced with narrative’s promise of making belonging – or its impossibility – recognizable, diaspora is bound to a certain error, or experimentation.


ICI Berlin
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Adi Kuntsman
Damani Partridge

Organized by

Hila Amit
Daniel C. Barber
Ruth Preser
ICI Berlin