As a way of understanding identity, the concept of rootedness has
increasingly been subjected to acerbic political and theoretical critiques.
Politically, roots narratives have been criticized for attempting to police
identity through a politics of purity—excluding anyone who doesn’t share
the same narrative. Theoretically, a critique of essentialism has led to
a suspicion against essence and origins regardless of their political
The central argument of Queer Roots for the Diaspora is that, in spite
of these debates around the concept of roots, ultimately the desire for
roots contains the “roots” of its own deconstruction. The book considers
alternative root narratives that acknowledge the impossibility of returning
to origins with any certainty; welcome sexual diversity; acknowledge their
own fictionality; reveal that even a single collective identity can be rooted
in multiple ways; and create family trees haunted by the queer others
patrilineal genealogy seems to marginalize.
The roots narratives simultaneously assert and question rooted identities
within a number of diasporas—African, Jewish, and Armenian. By looking
at these together, one can discern between the local specificities of any
single diaspora and the commonalities inherent in diaspora as a global
phenomenon. This comparatist, interdisciplinary study will interest
scholars in a diversity of fields, including diaspora studies, postcolonial
studies, LGBTQ studies, French and Francophone studies, American
studies, comparative literature, and literary theory.