Ritual and Resistance: Exploring queer Jewish identities in contemporary Britain

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: Sch of Geog, Politics and Sociology


Latest Home Office statistics (2018) reveal that violent Antisemitic and Queerphobic incidents are at record-breaking levels in contemporary Britain. For queer Jews, oppression is experienced on dual fronts in terms of both their ethnic and sexual identities. Due to the perceived dichotomy between Jewry and Queerness, queer Jews are often inhibited from attaining full acceptance to both communities. This PhD seeks to investigate how queer Jews are able to negotiate spaces of oppression in the North East and London through articulating both their queer and Jewish identities. Specifically, a recognition of the therapeutic function of religion shall be developed to explore how the enactment of ritual enables queer Jews to "re-member" themselves into their ethnoreligious community. This research will explore the performance of ritual as a cultural-political articulation of the self which resists Antisemitic and Queerphobic discourses by providing avenues of empowerment and self-expression. In collaboration with the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ), this PhD shall contribute to a new interfaith, LGBT* initiative chronicling intersectional, queer Jewish identities in Britain. Through qualitative and creative methods, this project will explore contemporary geographical frontiers by investigating new loci of ritual and resistance. The impact of this research will be grounded ideally in the understanding of the function of religion for minority communities in the UK and offer participants a platform to express their intersectional identities through creative practices. Hopefully, this research will complement the CCJ's new initiative and raise awareness of queer Jewish culture in Britain.


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