Adoption and Multiculturalism features the voices of international scholars reflecting transnational and transracial adoption and its relationship to notions of multiculturalism. The essays trouble common understandings about who is being adopted, who is adopting, and where these acts are taking place, challenging in fascinating ways the tidy master narrative of saviorhood and the concept of a monolithic Western receiving nation. Too often the presumption is that the adoptive and receiving country is one that celebrates racial and ethnic diversity, thus making it superior to the conservative and insular places from which adoptees arrive. The volume’s contributors subvert the often simplistic ways that multiculturalism is linked to transnational and transracial adoption and reveal how troubling multiculturalism in fact can be.
The contributors represent a wide range of disciplines, cultures, and connections in relation to the adoption constellation, bringing perspectives from Europe (including Scandinavia), Canada, the United States, and Australia. The book brings together the various methodologies of literary criticism, history, anthropology, sociology, and cultural theory to demonstrate the multifarious and robust ways that adoption and multiculturalism might be studied and considered. Edited by three transnational and transracial adoptees, Adoption and Multiculturalism: Europe, the Americas, and the Pacific offers bold new scholarship that revises popular notions of transracial and transnational adoption as practice and phenomenon.
"Includes research on adoption documents rarely open to historians . . . an important addition to the literature on adoption."
"Sheds new light on the roots of this complex and fascinating institution."
"Well-written and accessible . . . showcases the wide-ranging scholarship underway on the history of adoption."
"[T]his volume is a significant contribution to the literature and can serve as a catalyst for further research."
---Social Service Review
Adoption affects an estimated 60 percent of Americans, but despite its pervasiveness, this social institution has been little examined and poorly understood. Adoption in America gathers essays on the history of adoptions and orphanages in the United States. Offering provocative interpretations of a variety of issues, including antebellum adoption and orphanages; changing conceptions of adoption in late-nineteenth-century novels; Progressive Era reform and adoptive mothers; the politics of "matching" adoptive parents with children; the radical effect of World War II on adoption practices; religion and the reform of adoption; and the construction of birth mother and adoptee identities, the essays in Adoption in America will be debated for many years to come.
This book presents a committed quest to unravel and document the postwar adoption networks that placed more than 3,000 Greek children in the United States, in a movement accelerated by the aftermath of the Greek Civil War and by the new conditions of the global Cold War. Greek-to-American adoptions and, regrettably, also their transactions and transgressions, provided the blueprint for the first large-scale international adoptions, well before these became a mass phenomenon typically associated with Asian children. The story of these Greek postwar and Cold War adoptions, whose procedures ranged from legal to highly irregular, has never been told or analyzed before. Adoption, Memory, and Cold War Greece answers the important questions: How did these adoptions from Greece happen? Was there any money involved? Humanitarian rescue or kid pro quo? Or both? With sympathy and perseverance, Gonda Van Steen has filled a decades-long gap in our understanding, and provided essential information to the hundreds of adoptees and their descendants whose lives are still affected today.
RAND Corporation researchers review the current technical, regulatory, and economic context of the electricity market and theoretical benefits of developing a smart grid; discuss some entrepreneurial opportunities associated with smart-grid data; examine empirical evidence related to smart-grid adoption and implementation; and offer policy suggestions for overcoming identified barriers.
RAND Corporation researchers review the current technical, regulatory, and economic context of the electricity market and theoretical benefits of developing a smart grid; discuss some entrepreneurial opportunities associated with smart-grid data; examine empirical evidence related to smart-grid adoption and implementation; and offer policy suggestions for overcoming identified barriers.
In recent years, different family types have begun demanding recognition to an unprecedented extent. Despite notable changes to our cultural and academic landscapes, however, adoptive families remain overlooked. According to census data, about two and a half percent of children in the United States are adopted. But mere numbers do not begin to indicate the profound impact that these families have on cultural definitions of kinship.
Adoptive Families in a Diverse Society brings together twenty-one prominent scholars to explore the experience, practice, and policy of adoption in North America. While much existing literature tends to stress the potential problems inherent in non-biological kinship, the essays in this volume consider adoptive family life in a broad and balanced context.
Essays explore our current fascination with genetics, showing how our intense belief that we are produced, shaped, and controlled by our genes has affected the authenticity and value that we credit to adoptive parent/child relations. Other essays look at identity development, community attitudes toward adoption, gay adoptive fathers’ experiences, the ways in which single mother adoptive families create kinship, and the ways in which cultural assumptions about race and class operate in the system.
Bringing new perspectives to the topics of kinship, identity, and belonging, this path-breaking book expands more than our understandings of adoptive family life; it urges us to rethink the limits and possibilities of diversity and assimilation in American society.
Most Americans assume that shared genes or blood relationships provide the strongest basis for family. What can adoption tell us about this widespread belief and American kinship in general? Blue-Ribbon Babies and Labors of Love examines the ways class, gender, and race shape public and private adoption in the United States. Christine Ward Gailey analyzes the controversies surrounding international, public, and transracial adoption, and how the political and economic dynamics that shape adoption policies and practices affect the lives of people in the adoption nexus: adopters, adoptees, birth parents, and agents within and across borders. Interviews with white and African-American adopters, adoption social workers, and adoption lawyers, combined with her long-term participant-observation in adoptive communities, inform her analysis of how adopters' beliefs parallel or diverge from the dominant assumptions about kinship and family. Gailey demonstrates that the ways adoptive parents speak about their children vary across hierarchies of race, class, and gender. She shows that adopters' notions about their children's backgrounds and early experiences, as well as their own "family values," influence child rearing practices. Her extensive interviews with 131 adopters reveal profoundly different practices of kinship in the United States today.
Moving beyond the ideology of "blood is thicker than water," Gailey presents a new way of viewing kinship and family formation, suitable to times of rapid social and cultural change.
Beginning in the late 1950s, an influential cadre of young, white, mostly middle-class British men were consuming and appropriating African-American blues music, using blues tropes in their own music and creating a network of admirers and emulators that spanned the Atlantic. This cross-fertilization helped create a commercially successful rock idiom that gave rise to some of the most famous British groups of the era, including The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, Eric Clapton, and Led Zeppelin. What empowered these white, middle-class British men to identify with and claim aspects of the musical idiom of African-American blues musicians? The British Blues Network examines the role of British narratives of masculinity and power in the postwar era of decolonization and national decline that contributed to the creation of this network, and how its members used the tropes, vocabulary, and mythology of African-American blues traditions to forge their own musical identities.
In the thirty-five years since China instituted its One-Child Policy, 120,000 children—mostly girls—have left China through international adoption, including 85,000 to the United States. It’s generally assumed that this diaspora is the result of China’s approach to population control, but there is also the underlying belief that the majority of adoptees are daughters because the One-Child Policy often collides with the traditional preference for a son. While there is some truth to this, it does not tell the full story—a story with deep personal resonance to Kay Ann Johnson, a China scholar and mother to an adopted Chinese daughter.
Johnson spent years talking with the Chinese parents driven to relinquish their daughters during the brutal birth-planning campaigns of the 1990s and early 2000s, and, with China’s Hidden Children, she paints a startlingly different picture. The decision to give up a daughter, she shows, is not a facile one, but one almost always fraught with grief and dictated by fear. Were it not for the constant threat of punishment for breaching the country’s stringent birth-planning policies, most Chinese parents would have raised their daughters despite the cultural preference for sons. With clear understanding and compassion for the families, Johnson describes their desperate efforts to conceal the birth of second or third daughters from the authorities. As the Chinese government cracked down on those caught concealing an out-of-plan child, strategies for surrendering children changed—from arranging adoptions or sending them to live with rural family to secret placement at carefully chosen doorsteps and, finally, abandonment in public places. In the twenty-first century, China’s so-called abandoned children have increasingly become “stolen” children, as declining fertility rates have left the dwindling number of children available for adoption more vulnerable to child trafficking. In addition, government seizures of locally—but illegally—adopted children and children hidden within their birth families mean that even legal adopters have unknowingly adopted children taken from parents and sent to orphanages.
The image of the “unwanted daughter” remains commonplace in Western conceptions of China. With China’s Hidden Children, Johnson reveals the complex web of love, secrecy, and pain woven in the coerced decision to give one’s child up for adoption and the profound negative impact China’s birth-planning campaigns have on Chinese families.
In this vivid ethnography, Jessaca B. Leinaweaver explores “child circulation,” informal arrangements in which indigenous Andean children are sent by their parents to live in other households. At first glance, child circulation appears tantamount to child abandonment. When seen in that light, the practice is a violation of international norms regarding children’s rights, guidelines that the Peruvian state relies on in regulating legal adoptions. Leinaweaver demonstrates that such an understanding of the practice is simplistic and misleading. Her in-depth ethnographic analysis reveals child circulation to be a meaningful, pragmatic social practice for poor and indigenous Peruvians, a flexible system of kinship that has likely been part of Andean lives for centuries. Child circulation may be initiated because parents cannot care for their children, because a childless elder wants company, or because it gives a young person the opportunity to gain needed skills.
Leinaweaver provides insight into the emotional and material factors that bring together and separate indigenous Andean families in the highland city of Ayacucho. She describes how child circulation is intimately linked to survival in the city, which has had to withstand colonialism, economic isolation, and the devastating civil war unleashed by the Shining Path. Leinaweaver examines the practice from the perspective of parents who send their children to live in other households, the adults who receive them, and the children themselves. She relates child circulation to international laws and norms regarding children’s rights, adoptions, and orphans, and to Peru’s history of racial conflict and violence. Given that history, Leinaweaver maintains that it is not surprising that child circulation, a practice associated with Peru’s impoverished indigenous community, is alternately ignored, tolerated, or condemned by the state.
In this new volume, two distinguished professors of social work debate the question of whether family preservation or adoption serves the best interests of abused and neglected children.
Arguing the merits of keeping families together whenever possible, Ruth G. McRoy examines the background, theory, and effectiveness of family preservation programs. She provides practical recommendations and pays particular attention to the concerns of African American children.
Claiming that there is insufficient evidence that family preservation actually works, Howard Altstein counters that children from truly dysfunctional families should be given the chance for stable lives through adoption rather than left in limbo.
Chaos. Frustration. Compassion. Desperation. Hope. These are the five words that author Wendy Welch says best summarize the state of foster care in the coalfields of Appalachia. Her assessment is based on interviews with more than sixty social workers, parents, and children who have gone through “the system.” The riveting stories in Fall or Fly tell what foster care is like, from the inside out.
In depictions of foster care and adoption, stories tend to cluster at the dark or light ends of the spectrum, rather than telling the day-to-day successes and failures of families working to create themselves. Who raises other people’s children? Why? What’s money got to do with it when the love on offer feels so real? And how does the particular setting of Appalachia—itself so frequently oversimplified or stereotyped—influence the way these questions play out?
In Fall or Fly, Welch invites people bound by a code of silence to open up and to share their experiences. Less inspiration than a call to caring awareness, this pioneering work of storytelling journalism explores how love, compassion, money, and fear intermingle in what can only be described as a marketplace for our nation’s greatest asset.
The first social history of disability and difference in American adoption, from the Progressive Era to the end of the twentieth century.
Disability and child welfare, together and apart, are major concerns in American society. Today, about 125,000 children in foster care are eligible and waiting for adoption, and while many children wait more than two years to be adopted, children with disabilities wait even longer. In Familial Fitness, Sandra M. Sufian uncovers how disability operates as a fundamental category in the making of the American family, tracing major shifts in policy, practice, and attitudes about the adoptability of disabled children over the course of the twentieth century.
Chronicling the long, complex history of disability, Familial Fitness explores how notions and practices of adoption have—and haven’t—accommodated disability, and how the language of risk enters into that complicated relationship. We see how the field of adoption moved from widely excluding children with disabilities in the early twentieth century to partially including them at its close. As Sufian traces this historical process, she examines the forces that shaped, and continue to shape, access to the social institution of family and invites readers to rethink the meaning of family itself.
Adoption is a hot topic--played out in the news and on TV talk shows, in advice columns and tell-all tales--but for the 25 million Americans who are members of the adoption triad of adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth parents, the true story of adoption has not been told until now. Family Matters cuts through the sealed records, changing policies, and conflicting agendas that have obscured the history of adoption in America and reveals how the practice and attitudes about it have evolved from colonial days to the present.
Amid recent controversies over sealed adoption records and open adoption, it is ever more apparent that secrecy and disclosure are the defining issues in American adoptions--and these are also the central concerns of E. Wayne Carp's book. Mining a vast range of sources (including for the first time confidential case records of a twentieth-century adoption agency), Carp makes a startling discovery: openness, not secrecy, has been the norm in adoption for most of our history; sealed records were a post-World War II aberration, resulting from the convergence of several unusual cultural, demographic, and social trends.
Pursuing this idea, Family Matters offers surprising insights into various notions that have affected the course of adoption, among them Americans' complex feelings about biological kinship versus socially constructed families; the stigma of adoption, used at times to promote both openness and secrecy; and, finally, suspect psychoanalytic concepts, such as "genealogical bewilderment," and bogus medical terms, such as "adopted child syndrome," that paint all parties to adoption as psychologically damaged.
With an unswerving gaze and incisive analysis, Carp brings clarity to a subject often muddled by extreme emotions and competing agendas. His book is essential reading for adoptees and their adoptive and biological families, and for the countless others who follow their fortunes.
Imagining Adoption looks at representations of adoption in an array of literary genres by diverse authors including George Eliot, Edward Albee, and Barbara Kingsolver as well as ordinary adoptive mothers and adoptee activists, exploring what these writings share and what they debate.
Marianne Novy is Professor of English and Women's Studies, University of Pittsburgh.
During his invasion of Creek Indian territory in 1813, future U.S. president Andrew Jackson discovered a Creek infant orphaned by his troops. Moved by an “unusual sympathy,” Jackson sent the child to be adopted into his Tennessee plantation household. Through the stories of nearly a dozen white adopters, adopted Indian children, and their Native parents, Dawn Peterson opens a window onto the forgotten history of adoption in early nineteenth-century America. Indians in the Family shows the important role that adoption played in efforts to subdue Native peoples in the name of nation-building.
As the United States aggressively expanded into Indian territories between 1790 and 1830, government officials stressed the importance of assimilating Native peoples into what they styled the United States’ “national family.” White households who adopted Indians—especially slaveholding Southern planters influenced by leaders such as Jackson—saw themselves as part of this expansionist project. They hoped to inculcate in their young charges U.S. attitudes toward private property, patriarchal family, and racial hierarchy.
U.S. whites were not the only ones driving this process. Choctaw, Creek, and Chickasaw families sought to place their sons in white households, to be educated in the ways of U.S. governance and political economy. But there were unintended consequences for all concerned. As adults, these adopted Indians used their educations to thwart U.S. federal claims to their homelands, setting the stage for the political struggles that would culminate in the Indian Removal Act of 1830.
Jean Paton (1908–2002) fought tirelessly to reform American adoption and to overcome prejudice against adult adoptees and women who give birth out of wedlock. Paton wrote widely and passionately about the adoption experience, corresponded with policymakers as well as individual adoptees, promoted the psychological well-being of adoptees, and facilitated reunions between adoptees and their birth parents. E. Wayne Carp's masterful biography brings to light the accomplishments of this neglected civil-rights pioneer, who paved the way for the explosive emergence of the adoption reform movement in the 1970s. Her unflagging efforts over five decades helped reverse harmful policies, practices, and laws concerning adoption and closed records, struggles that continue to this day.
What constitutes a family? Tracing the dramatic evolution of Americans’ answer to this question over the past century, Kinship by Design provides the fullest account to date of modern adoption’s history.
Beginning in the early 1900s, when children were still transferred between households by a variety of unregulated private arrangements, Ellen Herman details efforts by the U.S. Children’s Bureau and the Child Welfare League of America to establish adoption standards in law and practice. She goes on to trace Americans’ shifting ideas about matching children with physically or intellectually similar parents, revealing how research in developmental science and technology shaped adoption as it navigated the nature-nurture debate.
Concluding with an insightful analysis of the revolution that ushered in special needs, transracial, and international adoptions, Kinship by Design ultimately situates the practice as both a different way to make a family and a universal story about love, loss, identity, and belonging. In doing so, this volume provides a new vantage point from which to view twentieth-century America, revealing as much about social welfare, statecraft, and science as it does about childhood, family, and private life.
The phenomenon of transnational adoption is changing in the age of globalization and biotechnology. In Legitimating Life, Sonja van Wichelen boldly describes how contemporary justifications of cross-border adoption navigate between child welfare, humanitarianism, family making, capitalism, science, and health. Focusing on contemporary institutional practices of adoption in the United States and the Netherlands, she traces how professionals, bureaucrats, lawyers, politicians, social workers, and experts legitimate a practice that became progressively controversial. Throughout the past few decades transnational adoption transformed from a humanitarian response to a means of making family. In this new manifestation, life becomes necessarily economized. While push and pull factors, demand and supply dynamics, and competition between agencies set the stage for the globalization of adoption, international conventions, scientific knowledge, and the language of human rights universalized the phenomenon. Van Wichelen argues that such technoscientific legitimations of a globalizing practice are rearticulating colonial logics of race and civilization. Yet, she also lets us see beyond the biopolitical project and into alternative ways of making kin.
"[Looks] at adoption from all sides of the triangle: adoptee, birth mother, adoptive parents . . . A provocative, comprehensive inquiry."
"Honest and moving."
---New York Times
"Important and powerful . . . [the author] is concerned not just with adoptees but with the experience of adoptive parents and birth parents."
"A moving and powerful plea for open discourse instead of secrecy among the participants in the adoption process."
---Public Welfare, American Public Welfare Association
The first edition of Betty Jean Lifton's Lost and Found advanced the adoption rights movement in this country in 1979, challenging many states' policies of maintaining closed birth records. For nearly three decades the book has topped recommended reading lists for those who seek to understand the effects of adoption---including adoptees, adoptive parents, birth parents, and their friends and families.
This expanded and updated edition, with new material on the controversies concerning adoption, artificial insemination, and newer reproductive technologies, continues to add to the discussion on this important topic. A new preface and afterword by the author have been added, as well as a greatly expanded resources section that in addition to relevant organizations now lists useful Web sites.
Betty Jean Lifton, Ph.D., is a writer, psychotherapist, and leading advocate for adoption reform. Her many books include Journey of the Adopted Self and The King of Children, a New York Times Notable Book. She regularly makes appearances as a lecturer on adoption and has an adoption counseling practice in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and New York City.
The baby is screaming again. My baby. I hoist her off the narrow hotel bed--again--and try to cradle her as I rock my torso back and forth in an uncomfortable straight-backed chair.
This baby does not cradle. She doesn't know how to cuddle, to be soothed in anyone's arms. She howls and arches away, squirms and flops, a sixteen-pound fish out of water. I'm not used to holding babies, and she's not used to be being held, but when I try to put her down, she wails. My arms feel chafed, raw, and my wrists ache from the hours of straining to hang on to her.
Huge tears pool in her eyes. These tears could break my heart. These screams could break my eardrums.
After years as a temporary college instructor with no real home—her family and longtime friends scattered—Nancy McCabe yearned to settle down, establish a place she could call home, and rear a child there. A tough academic job market led her to accept a position at a church-connected college in the deep South, a move that felt like an uneasy return to the conservative environment of her childhood that she thought she had left behind. McCabe had many reservations about rearing a child alone in this climate, but the desire to become a mother would not go away.
Meeting Sophie tells the story of McCabe adopting a Chinese daughter and the many obstacles she faced during the adoption and adjustment process as she renegotiated her role within her family and fought difficulties in her job. Especially poignant is her struggle to bond with a sick, grieving baby while in a foreign country during political unrest—followed, upon her return to the U.S., by a devastating loss and a career crisis.
Murder in Montauk
Judy Soloway Kay University of Michigan Press, 2005 Library of Congress PZ7.K1965Mur 2005
Charlie Anderson, a reporter on leave from the Boston Globe, becomes entangled in an unusual mystery when he stumbles upon a news article about his own death. Confused and still very much alive, Charlie travels to Montauk, Long Island, to learn more about the deceased man and learns more about himself in the process.
The MICHIGAN Reading Plus Readers are original fiction written for students who wish to improve their reading skills. The MICHIGAN Reading Plus Readers support the need for extensive reading on topics of interest to today's students. The Readers offer students books in the genres of mystery, science-fiction, and romance. Activities that practice vocabulary and reading skills are provided on the companion website.
The Politics of Reproduction: Adoption, Abortion and Surrogacy in the Age of Neoliberalism uniquely brings together three sites of reproduction and reproductive politics to demonstrate their entanglement in creating or restricting options for family-making. The original essays in this collection—which draw from a wide range of disciplinary and theoretical perspectives—are attentive to neoliberalism’s reshaping of economies and intimacies to better understand the politics of reproduction. By looking at particular instances (surrogacy in Mexico, forced sterilization in Peru, and racialized biopolitics in post-Katrina Mississippi, among other sites), The Politics of Reproduction focuses on the effects of a radically altered economic landscape on individual choice-making. As a whole, the volume critically engages the question of choice to better understand the costs of a political and ideological climate that encourages, even demands, individual solutions to intractable social problems. Whose choices are amplified in the use of new biomedical technologies and assisted reproduction? Why and how are we discouraged from understanding the economic motivations behind the “choice” to surrender a baby for adoption or to become a surrogate or to seek an abortion? Attentive to the historical, cultural, and ideological conjunctures of reproductive politics, The Politics of Reproduction makes a distinctive contribution to feminist analyses of the specific challenges posed by neoliberalism to reproductive possibilities, politics, and justice in the contemporary moment.
Many people embark on the journey of adoption and foster care but are unprepared for the challenges that await them along the way. Replanted takes an honest look at the joys and hardships that come with choosing this journey and provides a model of faith-based support made up of three parts to help families thrive: Soil,Sunlight, and Water.
Soil, or emotional support, addresses the need for grace-filled settings where families can connect with other families who understand their experience.
Sunlight, or informational support, focuses on obtaining helpful training to raise children who may have unique needs or challenges.
Water, or tangible support, deals with concrete resources such as medical care, child care, and financial support.
Throughout the book, the Replanted model is brought to life by stories and examples based on the clinical work and personal experiences of the authors. Their candid insight will serve families who are actively involved in adoption or foster care, as well as people who are eager to help support those families.
Replanted affirms that with the right support system in place, parents can answer this sacred call not only with open hearts but also with their eyes wide open.
In Somebody's Children, Laura Briggs examines the social and cultural forces—poverty, racism, economic inequality, and political violence—that have shaped transracial and transnational adoption in the United States during the second half of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first. Focusing particularly on the experiences of those who have lost their children to adoption, Briggs analyzes the circumstances under which African American and Native mothers in the United States and indigenous and poor women in Latin America have felt pressed to give up their children for adoption or have lost them involuntarily.
The dramatic expansion of transracial and transnational adoption since the 1950s, Briggs argues, was the result of specific and profound political and social changes, including the large-scale removal of Native children from their parents, the condemnation of single African American mothers in the context of the civil rights struggle, and the largely invented "crack babies" scare that inaugurated the dramatic withdrawal of benefits to poor mothers in the United States. In Guatemala, El Salvador, and Argentina, governments disappeared children during the Cold War and then imposed neoliberal economic regimes with U.S. support, making the circulation of children across national borders easy and often profitable. Concluding with an assessment of present-day controversies surrounding gay and lesbian adoptions and the struggles of immigrants fearful of losing their children to foster care, Briggs challenges celebratory or otherwise simplistic accounts of transracial and transnational adoption by revealing some of their unacknowledged causes and costs.
Strangers and Kin is the history of adoption, a quintessentially American institution in its buoyant optimism, generous spirit, and confidence in social engineering. An adoptive mother herself, Barbara Melosh tells the story of how married couples without children sought to care for and nurture other people's children as their own. It says much about the American experience of family across the twentieth century and our shifting notions of kinship and assimilation. Above all, it speaks of real people striving to make families out of strangers.
In the early twentieth century, childless adults confronted orphanages reluctant to entrust their wards to the kindness of strangers. By the 1930s, however, the recently formed profession of social work claimed a new expertise--the science and art of child placement--and adoption became codified in law. It flourished in the United States, reflecting our ethnic diversity, pluralist ideals, and pragmatic approach to family. Then, in the 1960s, as the sexual revolution reshaped marriage, motherhood, and women's work, adoption became a less attractive option and the number of adoptive families precipitously declined. Taking this history into the early twenty-first century, Melosh offers unflinching insight to the contemporary debates that swirl around adoption: the challenges to adoption secrecy; the ethics and geopolitics of international adoption; and the conflicts over transracial adoption.
This gripping history is told through poignant stories of individuals, garnered from case records long inaccessible to others, and captures the profound losses and joys that make adoption a lifelong process.
One woman learned on the eve of her Roman Catholic wedding. One man as he was studying for the priesthood. Madeleine Albright famously learned from the Washington Post when she was named Secretary of State. "What is it like to find out you are not who you thought you were?" asks Barbara Kessel in this compelling volume, based on interviews with over 160 people who were raised as non-Jews only to learn at some point in their lives that they are of Jewish descent. With humor, candor, and deep emotion, Kessel's subjects discuss the emotional upheaval of refashioning their self-image and, for many, coming to terms with deliberate deception on the part of parents and family. Responses to the discovery of a Jewish heritage ranged from outright rejection to wholehearted embrace. For many, Kessel reports, the discovery of Jewish roots confirmed long-held suspicions or even, more mysteriously, conformed to a long-felt attraction toward Judaism. For some crypto-Jews in the southwest United States (descendants of Jews who fled the Spanish Inquisition), the only clues to their heritage are certain practices and traditions handed down through the generations, whose significance may be long since lost. In Poland and other parts of eastern Europe, many Jews who were adopted as infants to save them from the Holocaust are now learning of their heritage through the deathbed confessions of their adoptive parents. The varied responses of these disparate people to a similar experience, presented in their own words, offer compelling insights into the nature of self-knowledge. Whether they had always suspected or were taken by surprise, Kessel's respondents report that confirmation of their Jewish heritage affected their sense of self and of their place in the world in profound ways. Fascinating, poignant, and often very funny, Suddenly Jewish speaks to crucial issues of identity, selfhood, and spiritual community.
Adopted at birth, Andrea Ross grew up inhabiting two ecosystems: one was her tangible, adoptive family, the other her birth family, whose mysterious landscape was hidden from her. In this coming-of-age memoir, Ross narrates how in her early twenties, while working as a ranger in Grand Canyon National Park, she embarked on a journey to discover where she came from and, ultimately, who she was. After many missteps and dead ends, Ross uncovered her heartbreaking and inspiring origin story and began navigating the complicated turns of reuniting with her birth parents and their new families. Through backcountry travel in the American West, she also came to understand her place in the world, realizing that her true identity lay not in a choice between adopted or biological parents, but in an expansion of the concept of family.
"John Carey and Martin Elton are among the most skilled and insightful researchers studying the dynamic changes in technology and the impacts on consumer attitudes and behaviors. Their comprehensive and actionable observations make this a must read for anyone interested in understanding the current (and future) media environment."
---Alan Wurtzel, President, Research and Media Development, NBC Universal
"When Media Are New should be read by every media manager faced with disruptive change brought on by new technology. The book transcends the fashionable topics and themes that are here today and gone tomorrow and instead places emphasis on those areas of research and implementation where fatal mistakes are made. They capture something universal, and therefore highly useful, by stripping away the hype and focusing relentlessly on consumers and the ways they adopt or fail to adopt new media products and technologies into their lives."
---Martin Nisenholtz, Senior Vice President, Digital Operations, The New York Times Company
"The burgeoning development of the Internet has deflected attention from a wider history of new media innovations that has shaped its success. John Carey and Martin Elton demonstrate that earlier initiatives to launch videophones, two-way interactive cable systems, videotext and other media innovations can teach us much about the present state and future course of information and communication technologies. This is a key reference on the new media, and must reading for students of the Internet---the platform for continuing the new media revolution."
---Professor William H. Dutton, Director, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford
The world of communication media has undergone massive changes since the mid-1980s. Along with the extraordinary progress in technological capability, it has experienced stunning decreases in costs; a revolutionary opening up of markets (a phenomenon exemplified by but not limited to the rise of the Internet); the advent of new business models; and a striking acceleration in the rate of change. These technological, regulatory, and economic changes have attracted the attention of a large number of researchers, from industry and academe, and given rise to a substantial body of research and data. Significantly less attention has been paid to the actual and intended users of new media. When Media Are New addresses this research and publishing gap by investigating the human side of the technological changes of the last 50 years and the implications for current and future media. It will find a broad audience ranging from media scholars to policymakers to industry professionals.
John Carey is Professor of Communications and Media Management at Fordham Business School and has extensive experience in conducting research about new media for companies such as AT&T, Cablevision, NBC Universal, and the New York Times (among many others) as well as foundations and government agencies. His extensive publications have focused on user adoption of new media and how consumers actually use new technologies.
Martin C. J. Elton was Director of the Communication Studies Group in the UK, which pioneered in the study of user behavior with new media technologies, and founded the Interactive Telecommunication Program at New York University. He has published widely on user research, forecasting, and public policy and has conducted extensive research for many prominent foundations, companies, and government agencies in the USA and Europe.