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'Coming home': Queer migrations and multiple evocations of home

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date11/2001
JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies
Journal number4
Volume4
Number of pages20
Pages405-424
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This article proposes an examination of recent interventions in queer studies that project queer culture and politics within a diasporic framework. Drawing on written narratives of what may be termed 'queer migrations', I seek to map the intersections of queer memories and diasporic spaces as they are uttered in terms of 'home'. By following the movement of queer subjects between homes, I examine how 'home', migration and belonging relate to each other in multiple ways. First, I discuss narratives of queer migration as homecoming, where 'home' is a destination rather than an origin. I explore the connection between exile, displacement and migration-as-homecoming found in some discussions on queer diaspora. How do the 'homes' people move towards relate to those that are 'left behind'? How does the movement toward some 'homes' operate through the fixing of others? Second, I consider the movement back home, how home is reimagined or reconstituted through memories that challenge the assumed idea of home-as-familiarity. Drawing on autobiographical renditions of queer migrations and remembrances of home, I discuss Elspeth Probyn's argument about movement, desire and childhood as 'suspended beginnings'. If one can never return 'home', as Probyn argues, what are the effects of coming home again and again on definitions of home? Third, I wonder how memories of home can relocate queerness within the home without reinstating home as originary moment. Is it possible to conceive of being 'at home' in a way that already encounters/engenders queerness, but without deploying an originary narrative of 'home'? Running through this discussion is a reflection about identity narratives that seek to reconfigure spaces of belonging shaped through both movement and attachment. Can we consider differential movements of subjects as not simply about thinking about home as mobile – not simply about the undoing of home as stasis – but as the re-forming of the very bounded spatiality of homes?