Dr Adi Kuntsman
My work lies at the intersection of cybercultures/ digital and social media; anti-colonial and feminist scholarship; queer theory; and social research on war, nationalism and colonialism. My fields of geographic and thematic interest are broad and diverse: in the past, I have written on queer racisms in Israel-Palestine; on sexuality and class in Gulag historiography; and on digital horizons of racial, religious and sexual hatred in post-Soviet diaspora. My more recent work includes an exploration of affective fabrics of digital cultures; a study of social media in the service of violent Israeli militarism (in collaboration with Rebecca L. Stein); and a project on the ambivalence of visibility in selfie-based activism across the world.

The common thread in all of my work is my interest in (and my political commitment to unravel) the work of violence – its affective economy and its cultural imageries, its seductive power and its bar
gaining value. I am especially interested in political effects of living with violence as a perpetrator, a spectator, a bystander, or a complicit beneficiary. I am also interested in how everyday uses of digital technologies produces long lasting, contradictory, and unpredictable effects on individuals, communities and broader political changes, in particular in contexts where violence is expected, normalised or glorified.

Currently, I am working on two new projects. The first one traces the changing horizons of digital memory in contexts of evolving  technologies of remembering, commemorating, capturing and leaving traces, especially with regards to violence and its futures. This project bring together my past work on  haunting and silences around same-sex relations in social and literary memories of the Soviet Gulags (and the ways those might find a place in digital sites dedicated to the Soveit past); and my more recent discussion  (with Rebecca L. Stein) of on-line perpetrator archives. Such archives, we argue, need to be examined not only from the perspective of mediated representations in the present, but also from the standpoint of a future court of justice.

The second project (in collaboration with Esperanza Miyake) addresses the relatively new phenomenon of 'digital disengagement' -  a conscious reduction or rejection of the use of digital devices or communication platforms. In mapping discourses and practices of digital disengagement, we show that while it is believed to be transgressive and socially transformative, the recent rise in digital refusals also points to the profoundly unequal distribution of digital capitals and freedoms, within which digital disengagement emerges as a choice or even a right - but ony for some.

NEWS: The Digital Disengagement project now has its own website!