Adoption: Secret Histories, Public Policies: Third International Conference on Adoption and Culture

full name / name of organization: 
Marianne Novy/Sally Haslanger/Emily Hipchen/Alliance for the Study of Adoption and Culture
contact email: 

Adoption has often, though not always, involved secrecy. How has secrecy or openness affected the history, experience, and representations of adoption? How have literature and film portrayed the impact of secrecy and disclosure on adoptees, birthparents, adoptive parents? What is the impact of recent revelations of secret histories in memoir, books such as _The Girls Who Went Away_, documentaries such as _First Person Plural_ (the creators of both will be keynote speakers)? How and why did adoption secrecy, and the practices it hides, develop differently in different cultures, countries, and even different states? Where are alternatives to secrecy practiced and how do they work? What public policies do our current adoption practices promote and what should they promote? How should we distinguish secrecy, privacy, and confidentiality in relation to adoption? How does secrecy in adoption relate to race, economics, and sexual orientation? How does it work differently in transnational adoption, in adopting waiting children, children in foster care, and children with special needs? How can literary and film critics, philosophers, anthropologists, historians, sociologists, psychologists, political scientists, legal scholars, activists, creative writers, culture studies scholars, and others enrich our understandings of these issues? Papers should discuss representations of adoption (including representations of birthparents) in literature, film, and other arts, and/or interactions between adoption practices and culture in fields such as philosophy, anthropology, history, sociology, political science, law, etc. We are also interested in readings of memoir, poetry, and fiction dealing with adoption, and will consider musicians and performance artists. Confirmed keynote speakers are Ann Fessler, author of The Girls Who Went Away, and DeAnn Borshay Liem, filmmaker of First Person Plural. Other expected speakers include Ellen Herman, Emily Hipchen, Margaret Homans, Mark Jerng, and Carol Singley. Please send 200-word proposals for papers or, for creative work, samples of less than ten pages, dealing with adoption, with a brief cv.
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