Ruth Preser is an Affiliated Fellow at the ICI Berlin as well as a teaching fellow at the University of Haifa and a feminist activist at Isha L’Isha Haifa Feminist Center. A gender studies scholar by training and a narratologist by passion, Ruth’s interdisciplinary scholarship combines queer theory and empirically informed inquiry. She received her PhD in gender studies from Bar-Ilan University with a dissertation entitled ‘A Narrative Investigation into Queer Separation’ (2012), which explored how belonging is negotiated and worked once life/stories cannot adhere to neoliberal convictions of ‘proper gayness.’

At the ICI Berlin, she is working on her book project entitled ‘Belonging Travels,’ which explores the intersection between sexuality and belonging by turning to the Jewish-Israeli queer diaspora in Berlin. Prior to arrival at the ICI Berlin, she spent a year as a fellow at the Institute for European Ethnology and the Center for Transdisciplinary Gender Studies at Humboldt University, Berlin. Her recent publications include ‘A Methodology of Damage,’ published in the International Journal of Social Research Methodology and ‘Things I Learned from the Book of Ruth,’ published in Theory and Criticism.

Belonging Travels

ICI Project 2013-14

Belonging Travels is a book project that explores queer kinship and contemporary questions of belonging. The project builds on and substantially expands my PhD dissertation, which investigates lesbian relationship dissolution and asks how belonging is negotiated and worked once life/stories cannot adhere to neoliberal convictions of ‘proper gayness.’The research project seeks to expand the inquiry into the intersection between kinship, sexuality and belonging by turning to one ethnographic site—the Jewish-Israeli lesbian community in Berlin.

Berlin is a site of diasporic longing among Jewish-Israeli queers, which is an unexplored phenomenon. Investigating kinship narratives in the context of migration, ‘Belonging Travels’ asks what kinds of stories, cultural scripts and subjectivities are produced and consumed; and how belonging is negotiated and imagined once it departs from the nation.