Babies without Borders: Adoption and the Symbolic Child in a Globalizing World
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.
- World Rights
- Page Count: 204 pages
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
ReviewsDubinsky'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.
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.’
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 InformationKaren 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
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
Subjects and Courses