Call for Proposals:

Sixth Biennial Conference of the Alliance for the Study of Adoption and Culture

ASAC 2016, Building Communities, Changing Discourses

Crowne Plaza Minneapolis Northstar Downtown Hotel, 27-29 October 2016

Organized by the ASAC Selection Committee:  Cynthia Callahan and Margaret Homans (co-chairs), Emily Hipchen, Claudia Nelson, Kim Park Nelson, Marianne Novy, Carol Singley

Twin Cities Site Committee:  Kim Park Nelson (chair), Sara Docan-Morgan, Shannon Gibney, Lisa Medici, Robert O’Connor, Anne Jin Soo Preston, Elizabeth Raleigh

Keynote speakers and events:

  • Lorraine Dusky, award-winning journalist and author of the first birthmother memoir, Birthmark (1979), who carries and enlarges her story further in her new book, Hole in My Heart: A Memoir and Report from the Fault Lines of Adoption
  • Margaret Jacobs, Chancellor’s Professor of History at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and author of A Generation Removed: The Fostering and Adoption of Indigenous Children in the Postwar World(University of Nebraska Press, 2014)
  • Deann Borshay Liem will screen edited scenes from her upcoming film, Geographies of Kinship and discuss the new film as the latest in her trilogy of Korean adoption films, including First Person Plural (2000) and In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee (2010)
  • Staged readings tracing twenty years of adoption theater in the Twin Cities by Mu Performing Arts
  • Readings of adoption-themed creative works at the Loft Literary Center

We invite proposals for papers and panels that:

■ Study the dynamics between adoption communities and other reproductive, family, and caring structures from historical, anthropological, philosophical, sociological, legal, religious, political, racialized, gendered, LGBTQ, and/or psychological perspectives;

■ Study the discourses employed in narratives of the lives of adoptees, foster alumni, adoptive parents, foster parents and/or birthparents, and how these discourses may be seen as innovative for their time period;

■ Analyze literary, cinematic, dramatic, musical, visual, dance, popular culture, or performance art approaches to new ways (whether present, past, or future) of conceiving community in adoption, foster care, or other nonstandard means of family formation or child care;

■ Promote community between people positioned differently with regard to adoption because of their life experience, profession, and/or discipline.

We expect that papers will run no longer than 20 minutes and that proposals for 75-minute 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 in relation to adoption.

If you would like to be considered as a presenter at the Loft Literary Center event, please send no more than five pages of your published work to the event’s curator, Shannon Gibney, at by the conference submission deadline.

Please send 200-word proposals for papers or samples of creative work with a cv or resume and links if you are working in visual or multimedia, to

Please use your family name in the electronic file name of your proposal, cv, and/or writing sample.

Proposal deadline 1 March 2016.

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. For additional information, send email queries to