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Love and violence in transracial/national adoption


My thesis, "Love and Violence in Transracial/national Adoption," examines a New York Times special transracial adoption blog series, "Relative Choices," to critically interrogate how love and violence operate in adoption discourse. In doing so, it explores two main questions: How have transracial/national adoptions been posited in the past and how does that inform current articulations? Second, how would a global/historical framework help rethink transracial/national adoptions beyond one based on the local/present? Specifically, I am interested in how a global/historical framework, on a larger level, disrupts our understandings of narratives of love, inclusion and progress and, on an individual family or particular level, how does such a framework challenge the strict constructions of the family, and then lastly, on both levels how does it reveal the productive violence at play? I argue that the normative narrative of adoption discourse has shifted from assimilation overdrive to the embracement of colorblindness and liberal multiculturalism through claims of inclusion, progression, and revolution. The condition of possibility for these assertions is mobilized by the ability of many adoptive supporters, parents and even adoptees to strategically place adoption in a local/ present framework. This positioning individualizes, depoliticizes, ahistoricizes transracial/national adoption, and it enables love to operate as the encompassing and guiding principle for adoption. While the concept and role of love is no doubt integral to the act (commitment) and process of adoption, its presence and hypervisibility obscures how the global and historical play important roles in shaping adoption. Specifically, the local/present framework erases and obfuscates the productive and political symbolic violence of transracial/national adoption.

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