Babies without Borders: Adoption and the Symbolic Child in a Globalizing World

by Karen Dubinsky

© 2010

International adoptions are both high-profile and controversial, with the celebrity adoptions and critically acclaimed movies such as Casa de los babys of recent years increasing media coverage and influencing public opinion. Neither celebrating nor condemning cross-cultural adoption, Karen Dubinsky considers the political symbolism of children in her examination of adoption and migration controversies in North America, Cuba, and Guatemala.

Babies Without Borders tells the interrelated stories of Cuban children caught in Operation Peter Pan, adopted Black and Native American children who became icons in the Sixties, and Guatemalan children whose 'disappearance' today in transnational adoption networks echoes their fate during the country's brutal civil war. Drawing from extensive research as well as from her critical observations as an adoptive parent, Karen Dubinsky aims to move adoption debates beyond the current dichotomy of 'imperialist kidnap' versus 'humanitarian rescue.' Integrating the personal with the scholarly, Babies Without Borders exposes what happens when children bear the weight of adult political conflicts.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 204 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
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SKU# SP002784

  • PUBLISHED MAR 2010

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    Regular Price: $26.95

    ISBN 9781442610194
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Quick Overview

Integrating the personal with the scholarly, Babies Without Borders exposes what happens when children bear the weight of adult political conflicts.

Babies without Borders: Adoption and the Symbolic Child in a Globalizing World

by Karen Dubinsky

© 2010

International adoptions are both high-profile and controversial, with the celebrity adoptions and critically acclaimed movies such as Casa de los babys of recent years increasing media coverage and influencing public opinion. Neither celebrating nor condemning cross-cultural adoption, Karen Dubinsky considers the political symbolism of children in her examination of adoption and migration controversies in North America, Cuba, and Guatemala.

Babies Without Borders tells the interrelated stories of Cuban children caught in Operation Peter Pan, adopted Black and Native American children who became icons in the Sixties, and Guatemalan children whose 'disappearance' today in transnational adoption networks echoes their fate during the country's brutal civil war. Drawing from extensive research as well as from her critical observations as an adoptive parent, Karen Dubinsky aims to move adoption debates beyond the current dichotomy of 'imperialist kidnap' versus 'humanitarian rescue.' Integrating the personal with the scholarly, Babies Without Borders exposes what happens when children bear the weight of adult political conflicts.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 204 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    ‘Dubinsky's research is excellent… Her contribution to this sub-field in the burgeoning field of childhood studies is a fine one and this book is a must read for all serious scholars of childhood and adoption.’
    James Onusko
    British Journal of Canadian Studies: vol 24:02:2011

    ‘This is a great book that historians of foreign relations, family, the United States, Canada, and Latin America, along with those interested in adoption, should read and assign… Dubinsky uses her own experience to help produce a rich and insightful history of people, policies, and nations in the Americas.’
    Leslie Reagan
    Histoire sociale /Social History; vol 45:89:2012

    'By making children the subject of her research, Dubinsky has provided original insight into the moral premises by which power is exercised and experienced. To approach children as highly-prized objects within paradigms of transnational privilege-the continuation of politics by other means-is to expose in the most intimate of settings the ways that the powerful and the powerless are drawn together into an inexorable relationship with one another, with all too predictable outcomes. This is a thoughtful and thought-provoking work of exemplary scholarship.'


    Louis A. Perez, Jr., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    'Deeply researched, beautifully written, and brimming with insight, Babies Without Borders illustrates how profoundly narratives about rescuing and stealing children have distorted our understanding of international adoption throughout its history. From Cuba and Canada to Guatemala, babies caught up in the wars, refugee migrations, and other global calamities of the past half-century have paid a very high price for the privilege of serving as symbols of national pride, vulnerability, and destiny. Dubinsky refreshingly shifts our attention from Asia to Latin America, insists on telling stories from both sides of the border, and offers compelling evidence for the view that international power is inextricably linked to some of the most intimate experiences of family life—including her own.'
    Ellen Herman, University of Oregon
  • Author Information

    Karen Dubinsky is Professor of History and Global Development Studies at Queen's University. She is the author and editor of several books, including Within and Without the Nation: Transnational Canadian History (2015).
  • Table of contents


    Table of Contents

    Acknowledgements

    Chapter 1: Children and the Stories We Tell About Them

    Chapter 2: The National Baby: Creating Monumental Children
    From Operation Peter Pan to Elian Gonzalez

    Chapter 3: The Hybrid Baby: Domestic Interracial Adoption
    Since the 1950s

    Chapter 4: The Missing Baby: Transnational Adoption and
    The Vanishing Children of Guatemala

    Chapter 5: Conclusion: Setting the Agenda for a
    Happy Childhood

    Selected Bibliography

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