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Kinship by Design: A History of Adoption in the Modern United States


reviewed by Karen Balcom June 24, 2009

coverTitle: Kinship by Design: A History of Adoption in the Modern United States
Author(s): Ellen Herman
Publisher: University of Chicago Press, Chicago
ISBN: 0226327604, Pages: 368, Year: 2008
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With a number of important articles and an innovative web project to her credit, Ellen Herman is a well-established leader in adoption history.1 In the preface to this highly anticipated book, Herman notes that working with other scholars in this field has convinced her of "the potential of adoption to illuminate basic questions in the humanities and social sciences in utterly original ways" (p. xi). Or, to quote Herman in another context (2005), "adoption is good to think with.” In Kinship by Design: A History of Adoption in the Modern United States, Herman follows this lead and uses the history of adoption in the twentieth century – an important and complex story in its own right – to think about the advance of governmentality and therapeutic culture in the United States, and to illuminate what she calls "shadow stories" at the heart of democratic liberalism (p. 8). The subtitle of the... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: June 24, 2009
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 15677, Date Accessed: 10/22/2017 7:43:03 AM

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About the Author
  • Karen Balcom
    McMaster University
    E-mail Author
    KAREN BALCOM is Associate Professor of History at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Her research is on the history of transnational adoption to and from Canada and the United States. Her book, The Traffic in Babies: Cross-Border Adoption and Baby-Selling Between the United States and Canada, is forthcoming from the University of Toronto Press.
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