RE: June 12-15, 2008 Berkshire Conference on the History of Women: Continuities and Changes http://www.umass.edu/history/berks/berks.htm
University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN
Is there anyone interested in serving as Chair of a panel that explores the issue of changing constructions of North American adoptions of Chinese girls in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries? The deadline for submission to this 2008 Berks Conference, which will be held at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN, is February 9th. If interested, please contact Cristina Zaccarini at firstname.lastname@example.org or Connie Shemo at email@example.com
This panel explores changing constructions of “rescuing” Chinese girls through adoption into American families from late nineteenth century American missionary adoption of girls in China to the current practice of American and Canadian families adopting Chinese children, the overwhelming majority of whom are girls. The panel traces a growing tension between North American visions of saving Chinese girls from cultural practices viewed as oppressive with an ideal of cultural equality and an internationalism that places a premium on respect for other cultures. The panel also brings out changing constructions of race throughout this time period. At the same time, taken together, the papers on the panel suggest much about how the thread of “White” families saving Chinese girls runs throughout adoptive practices, even with the important changes in language and ideology. The panel will invite the audience to consider broader questions of changes and continuity in how constructs of “rescuing women and children” are used to assert North American cultural superiority. As the panel incorporates scholarship on both the United States and Canada, the panel can also promote discussion on the similarities and differences between these two North American countries in this regard.
The first two essays, by Connie Shemo and Cristina Zaccarini, are case studies of controversial missionary adoptions, both taking place in Central China among Methodist Episcopal missionaries, but close to fifty years apart (1870s and 1920s.) The third essay, by Chen Xiaobei, offers a broader perspective, comparing Christian Mission’s founding homes among Christian mission’s founding homes, orphanages in China from the turn of the century to the 1950s with current adoptions by White Canadians of Chinese children, most of whom are girls. The commentator, Karen Balcom, a scholar of adoption with a focus on international adoption, will situate the history of adoption in China in the wider history of international adoption.
Cristina Zaccarini, Ph.D.
Assoc. Prof., Dept. of History
300 South Avenue
Garden City, NY
Phone: (516) 877-4788 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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