Archive for family

Episode 17 The Folklore of International Adoption with Dr. Patricia Sawin

Anthropologist, folklorist, and professor of American Studies, Dr. Patricia Sawin pays close attention to the stories we tell. Focusing on international adoption, Dr. Sawin examines how these stories weave together new families while sometimes over-simplifying difficult issues of race, privilege, and the power and limits of love.

Adoption is a culturally and historically complicated process that we like to envision as purely altruistic, yet usually involves moving children from less- to more-advantaged communities. Dr. Sawin discusses how international adoptive parents, who are usually white and financially secure, navigate the complicated emotional and social terrain of integrating children into their families who have been given by less powerful communities of color. Language plays a critical role in refashioning ideas about family, downplaying guilt about possible exploitation and others’ losses, strengthening bonds in the new families, and increasing comfort in a sense of larger purpose and design.

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Episode 4 A New Kind of Family with “The Guys Next Door” with Amy Geller and Allie Humenuk

The Guys Next Door poster
(photo courtesy of A Squared Films)

The Guys Next Door, an award-winning feature-length documentary film features Erik and Sandro, whose friend Rachel offers to be a surrogate for their two children. Although filmmakers Amy Geller and Allie Humenuk are not anthropologists, their film sparks conversation about core anthropological issues of kinship, social networks and gift giving, gender roles and parenting.

Amy and Allie have created a touching portrait of family life that humanizes the lives of lesser seen same-sex parents. In this episode, they discuss how their film shares in the conversation of what family is, and how, while family structures may change, family life is often surprisingly unsurprising.
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