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RHEA Research Seminar: "Eating the Adoptee: Cultural commodification, whiteness and adoptees’ resistance in Bolivian-Belgian adoption"

maandag, 12 maart, 2018 - 12:30 to maandag, 12 maart, 2018 - 14:00
Campus: Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering campus
Pleinlaan 5
Van Gogh room (5.61)

By Christof Bex, PhD Candidate (FWO), Ghent University


Since the ‘cultural turn’ in official adoption discourse adoptive families have been stimulated to celebrate the adoptees’ ‘original’ racial and cultural background. Critical adoption studies have extensively documented this ‘culture work’, pointing to the problematic ways in which it tends to essentialize, fetishize and/or racialize transnational adoptees. The way in which adoptees have received and experienced this ‘culture work’, however, has remained relatively understudied. This paper aims to help fill this gap by providing a critical analysis of the narratives of Bolivian adoptees on the way in which Bolivia and its people were talked about in their family and social environment. It shows how adoptees incorporate and/or resist the raced, classed and gendered representations of and imageries about their origins and how they navigate different cultural spaces and practices.