ACLA Panel: Networks of Adoption

deadline for submissions: 
September 21, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Melissa Dinsman and Beth Rosenberg
contact email: 

This call seeks abstracts for the upcoming ACLA conference for papers that will focus on representations of adoption in literature. The goal of this panel is to explore how literary representations of adoption and the formation of adoptive families have changed over time. To do this, we are looking for a broad range of papers that address adoption in literature from different national, religious, racial, gender, and theoretical perspectives. We are also open to definitions of adoption that include varying degrees of legalization. Thus we welcome abstracts for papers that consider more traditional definitions of adoption as in George Eliot’s Silas Marner, familial adoptions like Janie’s by her grandmother is Their Eyes Were Watching God, adoptive musings like Bloom’s for Stephen in Ulysses, lesbian or gay identity in adoption as in Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges are Not the Only Fruit, or transracial adoption in Andrea Levy’s postcolonial Small Island.


Because this session is looking at adoption as a “networked” family, we are seeking abstracts that not only address the adoptive network as it exists in a literary text, but also more focused studies on certain participants (or nodes) in the adoptive network. Possible topics of interest include:

  • adoptive/familial networks

  • adopted child, adopted adult

  • adoptive parents/mother/father

  • birth parents/mother/father

  • presence vs. absence

  • trans-racial, -religious, -national adoptions

  • psychoanalytic, race, feminist, gender, LGBTQ, network, and affect theory perspectives (not exclusive)

  • legal and sociological histories of adoption as they are represented in the literary text

  • adoptions in literature as textual/writing process metaphors

  • adoption or adaption

You can access the cfp on the ACLA site at:

Please direct questions to: Melissa Dinsman ( or Beth Rosenberg (