Presented by the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU. Co-sponsored by the A/P/A Studies Program in the NYU Department of Social & Cultural Analysis.
Spanning the second half of the twentieth century to the present, Asian American transnational and transracial adoption has been shaped by the changing landscapes of US wars abroad. While emerging from differing social and historical contexts, adoption from Asia converges with transracial adoption within the United States through the shared racialization of Asian American adoptees. This panel highlights academic scholarship and adoptee voices to examine the complex intersections of Asian American racialization, and adoptive family formation in the wake of US wars in Asia. Featuring Kori A. Graves (University of Albany–SUNY), author of A War Born Family: African American Adoption in the Wake of the Korean War (NYU Press, January 2020); Matthew Salesses (Coe College), author of The Hundred-Year Flood (Little A, 2015); and Allison Varzally (California State University, Fullerton), author of Children of Reunion: Vietnamese Adoptions and the Politics of Family Migrations (University of North Carolina Press, 2017). Moderated and curated by LiLi Johnson (University of Wisconsin–Madison).
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Allison Varzally is professor of History at California State University, Fullerton where she teaches and researches histories of immigration and multiracial relations. Her first book, Making a Non-White America: Californians Coloring Outside Ethnic Lines (University of California Press, 2008) won the Immigration and Ethnic History Society’s Theodore Saloutos Award for best book in immigration history. Her second book, Children of Reunion: Vietnamese Adoptions and the Politics of Family Migrations (University of North Carolina Press, 2017) explores the experiences and representations of Vietnamese adoptees and adult Amerasians since 1960 to better understand the consequences of Vietnamese migrations, the changing forms of families, and the meanings assigned to the American War in Vietnam. Her most recent project, California Kitchens, examines regional restaurants as spaces of immigrant labor, community, and cultural challenge after World War II.
Dr. Kori A. Graves is an associate professor of History at the University at Albany, SUNY. A graduate of the Program in Gender and Women’s History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. Graves’ research evaluates the significance of political and popular representations of gender, race, nation, and family. Her book, A War Born Family: African American Adoption in the Wake of the Korean War (New York University Press, 2020) tells the story of the first African Americans who adopted Korean children, and the ways their efforts revealed the contested nature of adoptive family formation across racial and national lines in the Cold War era. Dr. Graves is also a dedicated instructor. She has won awards for teaching excellence for her work teaching courses that explore gender and women’s history, the history of marriage and family, and histories of the body, beauty and identity politics in the US.
Matthew Salesses is the author of the novels I’m Not Saying, I’m Just Saying (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2013) and Amazon bestseller The Hundred-Year Flood (Little A, 2015). Forthcoming are three new books: Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear: A Novel, a book on creative writing titled Craft in the Real World, and a collection of essays. He is assistant professor of English at Coe College and teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Ashland University.
LiLi Johnson is an Anna Julia Cooper Postdoctoral Fellow and, starting in Fall 2020, will be an assistant professor of Gender & Women’s Studies and Asian American Studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her book manuscript, titled Family Conceptions: Technologies of Asian American Family Formation, theorizes different technological systems and non-biological forms of kinship to examine Asian American family formation from the twentieth century to the present.