Seventh Biennial Conference

Formations: Thinking Kinship through Adoption

Oakland Marriott City Center Hotel, Oakland CA October 18-20, 2018


ASAC 2018 Conference CFP 4-15 deadline

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Formations: Thinking Kinship through Adoption, sponsored by the Alliance for the Study of Adoption and Culture, promotes interdisciplinary culture-based scholarship and creative practices that address old and new formations of kinship through the lens of adoption. We are particularly interested in intersectional, interdisciplinary, and boundary-crossing discussions of domestic and transnational adoption and related kinship formations such as fostering, assisted reproduction, LGBTQ+ families, and other innovative kinship formations. We welcome local, national and international perspectives, and we look forward to opportunities to explore the rich history of adoption community building, research, and activism both in the Bay Area and elsewhere.

The conference aims to expand current knowledge of the experience, institution, and cultural representation of adoption and kinship. We encourage discussion of kinship formations that adoptees, birth/first parents, and adoptive kin create and in which they participate; that creative artists engage across genres; that social workers, lawyers, and other practitioners address; that activists define and engage; and that scholars in fields including history, anthropology, philosophy, sociology, law, religious studies, literary studies, art historical studies, political science, psychology, and medical humanities analyze and critique. The conference advocates community among people positioned differently with regard to adoption because of their life experience, profession, and/or discipline.

Topics of interest include:

  • Studies of the economies, ethics, or aesthetics of intimacy;
  • Studies of how race, gender, sexuality, and class shape kinship formations;
  • Critical analyses of adoption narratives, histories, discourses, and life experiences;
  • Studies of literary, cinematic, dramatic, musical, visual, dance, popular culture, or performance art representations of kinship formations;
  • Studies of the impacts of increasing global mobility and migration and refugee crises on kinship formations; and
  • Studies of the production of new forms of kinship in social media and other digital and online locations.

This conference seeks to create a welcoming space for all attendees. To ensure the safety of all participants, the conference has a zero tolerance policy for racist, xenophobic, homophobic, and transphobic language in addition to other forms of hate speech.

Keynote speakers and events:

  • Judith Butler, the Maxine Elliot Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of California at Berkeley, author of Gender Trouble, Precarious Life, and Undoing Gender, speaking on her reflections on “kinship trouble”
  • Julie Pelletier, Associate Professor of Indigenous Studies, University of Winnipeg, co-editor of Gambling on Authenticity: Gaming, the Noble Savage, and the Not-So-New Indian, speaking on “Thoughts from a Birth/First Mother on the Intersections of Culture, Class, and Profession”
  • Deann Borshay Liem (First Person Plural; In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee) and Amandine Gay (Speak Up/Make Your Way): Transnational/transracial adoptee filmmakers discuss their work
  • Presentation by The Adoption Museum Project
  • Roundtable discussion on publication opportunities with representatives of Ohio State University Press and the editors of Adoption & Culture
  • An evening reading of adoption-themed creative works

To propose a paper or presentation for ASAC 2018:

Proposed papers should run no longer than 15-20 minutes. Panel sessions will be either 75 or 90 minutes and will include three or four speakers; all panels will allow at least 20 minutes for discussion.

We also invite creative presentations (writing, film, drama, graphic arts, other media, etc.) on the conference theme.

Please send 200-word proposals for papers, or samples of creative work (and links if your work is visual or multimedia), in a single document that also contains a short (1 page) CV, to To submit a proposal for a panel of three or four speakers, again as a single document, please include a paragraph explaining the panel’s focus together with a 200-word abstract and short CV for each speaker.

Please use your surname in the electronic file name of your proposal.

If you would like to be considered as a presenter at the evening creative writing event (instead of submitting a creative proposal for a daytime conference panel), please send no more than five pages of your writing, with “creative writing reading” in the subject line, to, by the conference submission deadline.

Proposal deadline 15 April 2018.

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.

Our conference website is under development, and we will soon post information about registration, accommodations, and travel. For additional information, send email queries to

ASAC 2018 Conference CFP 4-15 deadline

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