Ellen Herman’s “Matching and Its Critics in American Adoption”

The author of the book “Matching and Its Critics in American Adoption,” Ellen Herman spoke at the University of Pittsburgh on Sept 29th. Herman is currently a professor of History at the University of Oregon. Thanks to The Daily Bastardette for the the following:

From The Daily Bastardette, on Herman’s “Matching and Its Critics in American Adoption”:

  • Her current book considers the history of child adoption during the twentieth century as a case study of social engineering, or kinship by design. The historical claim of kinship by design has been as simple as it has been ambitious: to reduce uncertainty and increase certainty in family formation. Kinship by design promised to inject safety, naturalness, and authenticity into a family form culturally marked as hazardous, artificial, and less real than the “real thing.” The book will cover a range of efforts to regulate the adoption process as well as study and help members of adoptive families. It suggests that the adoption story has as much to tell us about the history of the welfare state, scientific authority, and therapeutic culture as it does about childhood, family life, and other experiences we classify as “private.”

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