Lost and found in Berlin: identity, ontology and the emergence of Queer Zion
In response to a call for interview partners for an ethnography on the Israeli-Jewish lesbian diaspora in Berlin, my prospective partners contacted me, offering their migration stories while apologetically stating that they were no longer, or not exactly, lesbians. Admittedly, such transformations should not come as a surprise. Scholarship on queer migration to urban spaces elaborates the sexual imaginary, which brands the city as the scene in which gay cultures are rooted and develop, and which allows, and perhaps actively embraces (specific kinds of) sexual diversity. This sexual imaginary assumes contingency among sexuality, transformation storyline and displacement, and suggests that identity is enabled, enacted, conscripted and occasionally, violently incited as a result of spatial positions and migration. While the migration stories celebrate and brand the city as a cosmopolitan and queer haven, they also reveal an ambivalent dimension, which draws on ambiguous historical baggage and current hostility to strangers. In what follows, I discuss the shift to ‘queerness’ and the emergence of racial identities that came to light during my Berlin ethnography, charting the ways those shifts coincide and exploring the processes by which identities are lost and found.
Ethnography Jewish Identity Main Topic: Identity and Community Race LGBT Jewish Space Israeli Expatriates
Link to article (paywalled), Lost and found in Berlin: identity, ontology and the emergence of Queer Zion
Lost and found in Berlin: identity, ontology and the emergence of Queer Zion. 2017: 413-425. https://archive.jpr.org.uk/10.1080/0966369X.2016.1249347