Visualizing Kinship: Politics, Challenges, Opportunities

Lucy Curzon's picture
Call for Papers
June 12, 2018 to November 1, 2018
Alabama, United States
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Film and Film History, Popular Culture Studies, Race Studies, Sexuality Studies

Visualizing Kinship: Politics, Challenges, Opportunities

Adoption & Culture publishes essays on any aspect of adoption’s intersection with culture, including but not limited to scholarly examinations of adoption practice, law, art, literature, ethics, science, life experiences, film, or any other popular or academic representation of adoption. Adoption & Culture accepts submissions of previously unpublished essays for review.

Adoption & Culture is the journal of The Alliance for the Study of Adoption and Culture (ASAC). ASAC promotes understanding of the experience, institution, and cultural representation of domestic and transnational adoption and related practices such as fostering, assisted reproduction, LGBTQ+ families, and innovative kinship formations. ASAC considers adoptive kinship to include adoptees, first families, and adoptive kin. In its conferences, other gatherings, and publications ASAC provides a forum for discussion and knowledge creation about adoption and related topics through interdisciplinary, culture-based scholarly study and creative practice that consider many ways of perceiving, interpreting, and understanding adoption.

Adoption studies scholarship explores multiple aspects of adoption’s intersection with culture including, but not limited to, scholarly examinations of adoption practice, law, art, literature, ethics, science, life experiences, and film. Adoption scholars examine discourses of adoption in all its various ways, complicating the ways adoption engages with normative ideologies of identity, family, culture, race, gender, nation, and citizenship.


This issue of Adoption & Culture asks how we might use the critical study of adoption to strategize the visual politics of kinship.  We seek essays that discuss a broad range of issues or questions.  These include but are not limited to: How do adoptive families look?  How do adoptive kin become visible in mainstream cultures?  How have queer theory, critical race studies, feminism, and gender studies influenced the visibility or invisibility of adoptive families? First families? Does a visible genealogy of adoptive kinship exist?  Do non-normative forms of kinship necessitate new forms of visual representation? What is at stake, politically, in visualizing radical forms of kinship? Are there assets to invisibility?  How do normalizing discourses – for example, bio-heteronormativity – influence the appearance of adoptive kinship? Or disappearance?  


We seek new and original essays that explore contemporary and historical visual cultures of kinship for the purpose of interrupting, questioning, or problematizing bio-normative and/or bio-genealogical concepts of family.  Inter-disciplinary approaches are encouraged. All essays should address issues that arise from the study of kinship in various types of visual culture, including:


  • Film (including home movies)
  • Architecture and design
  • Gaming and social media
  • Painting
  • Illustration (including investigations of the relationship between text and image)
  • Photography (including family photos)
  • Performance
  • Digital media
  • Advertising


Please submit a 500-word proposal or abstract by 1 November 2018 to Any questions about this special issue can be sent to Lucy Curzon at the email address above. Authors will be notified of their accepted abstracts by 1 December 2018. Final manuscripts are due 1 April 2019.

Contact Info: 

Lucy Curzon

Department of Art and Art History

The University of Alabama

Box 870270

Tuscaloosa AL 35487

Contact Email: