Adoption, Kinship, Culture: Engaging the Past, Imagining the Future

deadline for submissions: 
April 1, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Alliance for the Study of Adoption and Culture

ASAC 2020

Adoption, Kinship, Culture: Engaging the Past, Imagining the Future

Eighth Biennial Conference Call For Proposals


University of Winnipeg. Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. September 24-26, 2020


Deadline: February April 1, 2020


Keynote speakers:


Susan Devan Harness, the author of Bitterroot: A Salish Memoir of Transracial Adoption.

Eleana Kim, University of California, Irvine.

Karen Balcom, McMaster University.

Kathryn Joyce, the author of The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking and the New Gospel of Adoption.


Adoption, Kinship, Culture: Engaging the Past, Imagining the Future, sponsored by The Alliance for the Study of Adoption and Culture, builds on the previous ASAC conference themes that considered crossing boundaries, changing discourse, and new formations to consider and imagine the futures of adoption and what awaits us there. This conference investigates, what might adoption, foster care (FC), kinship, and assisted reproductive technology (ART) look like in twenty years? What discourses, representations, practices, policies, and laws will change and which will stay the same? Who will lead the way? We pluralize futures in recognition that individually and collectively we might hold different imaginations and desires for the kind of future we want. As we speculate on the futures of adoption, we cannot ignore the innumerable pasts. Thus, we also ask, how has the past informed, anticipated, or rejected the future? In looking toward adoption futures while engaging in adoption pasts we seek proposals that examine adoption, FC, kinship, and ART in relation to notions of Indigeneity and decolonization, gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity, culture, family, nationalism, transnationalism, origins, law, ethics, religion, and much more. We encourage critical, trenchant, and respectful presentations and dialogue that engage the various perspectives of the diverse communities and stakeholders related to adoption. We welcome national and international perspectives as well as local ones. As an interdisciplinary academic organization, ASAC invites a broad range of approaches from scholars, activists, creative writers, artists, and filmmakers. We are particularly interested in intersectional, interdisciplinary, boundary-crossing, and future-oriented discussions and welcome conversations on the connections between adoption and culture broadly understood.


We invite proposals for papers and panels that address but are not limited to the following topics below:

  • Indigenous pasts, presents, and futures, including the Sixties Scoop, the Millennial Scoop; as well as links to Truth and Reconciliation, and MMIWG2S; 
  • Growing global nationalism along with attendant im/migration, refugee and asylee, and citizenship crises that produce separation, deportation, and/or adoption;
  • Futures of reproduction, family, and kinship, including reproductive technologies, open adoption, foster care, alternatives to adoption, and new genetics;
  • Adoptee, adoptive parent, and especially birth/first parent imaginations and articulations of the future;
  • Futures of transnational and transracial adoptions in the contemporary global (trafficking, regulation, and decline) and domestic (multiculturalism, post-racialism, and neo/liberalism) contexts;
  • Connections between adoption and environmental precarity, ecocriticism, land and water protection, and global population growth issues;
  • Ethics of using technology and apps for family matching;
  • Archival methods of research, experiences of archive creation, and other ways of engaging the past of adoption;
  • Tropes of orphan(hood) and adoption in past and futuristic literature and cultural productions; 
  • Affective structures in non-traditional kinship.


We expect that papers will run no longer than 15-20 minutes and that proposals for 90-minute panels will allow at least 20 minutes for discussion. 


For individual submissions, please send a 200-word proposal and a 1-page CV in a single PDF file to To submit a panel proposal of three or four speakers, again as a single PDF file, include a 200-word panel title and abstract along with 200-word abstracts and a 1-page CV for each presenter. 


We also invite creative presentations (writing, film, drama, graphic arts, other media, etc.) on the conference theme. Please send short samples of creative work along with a 1-page CV or resume and links if you are working in visual or multimedia, to Additionally, if your submission is literary in nature, indicate whether your would like your creative presentation to be considered for scheduling during a) the regular academic conference program or b) the evening literary event. Please indicate in the subject line of the email that it is a creative presentation submission.


For any kind of submission, please use your surname in the file name of your combined PDF file (proposal, cv, and/or writing sample) and other supplementary files. 


Proposal deadline: April 1, 2020.


If you are a graduate student and would like to be considered for a travel grant award (maximum value $500), please indicate this on your proposal and submit an expanded proposal of 1200-1500 words. Awards will be given based on the quality of the paper proposal, cost of travel, contribution of papers to the scope of the conference, and available funds.


A conference website is under development, and we will soon post information about registration, accommodations, and travel on our website: For additional information, send email queries to