Gratuitous plug: I am presenting a paper on baby dumping. It is a genuine honor to be included in such an outstanding group of scholars. Please join us! The ASIC throws the best adoption conferences with the coolest people!…and a good selection of Bastard Nationals and friends presenting!

*Adoption: Secret Histories, Public Policies*
A conference sponsored by the Alliance for the Study of Adoption and Culture
at MIT, Cambridge, MA
April 29-May 2, 2010

Keynote speakers:

*Anita L. Allen*
Deputy Dean for Academic Affairs, Henry R. Silverman Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy, University of Pennsylvania Law School.
—Allen’s work has focused on the law and ethics of privacy and data protection,
race relations and feminist philosophy. She is the author of numerous articles and several books: Privacy Law: and Society (2007); /Why Privacy Isn’t Everything: Feminist Reflections on Personal Accountability,/ (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003); /Uneasy Access: Privacy for Women in a Free Society/ (Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield, l988) and /The New Ethics: A Guided Tour of the 21st Century Moral Landscape/ (Miramax Books/distributed by Hyperion Books, 2004).

*Ann Fessler *
—is an installation artist, filmmaker, adoptee and author of The Girls Who Went Away: The
Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade/(The Penguin Press, 2006) based on oral history interviews she conducted between 2002 and 2005 with surrendering mothers across the country. In 2008 Fessler received the Ballard Book Prize given annually to a female author who advances the dialogue about women’s rights and in 2006 her book was selected by the National Book Critics Circle as one of
the top 5 nonfiction books of the year. Hear Ann Fessler on Fresh Air.

*Lynn Lauber*
—birth mother, writer, teacher, and book collaborator, has published three books with W.W. Norton. White Girls (1990) and 21 Sugar Street (1993), both fiction, that deal with the topics of birth families and adoption. Listen to Me, Writing Life into Meaning (2003), is part memoir, part exploration of writing as self-discovery. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times and a number of anthologies. She currently teaches personal writing workshops and is writing a memoir on her experience as a birth mother.

*Deann Borshay Liem*
—is Producer, Director, Writer for the Emmy Award-nominated documentary, First Person Plural (PBS 2000), Executive Producer for Spencer Nakasako’s Kelly Loves Tony (PBS 1998) and AKA Don Bonus (PBS 1996, Emmy Award), and Co-Producer for Special Circumstances (PBS, 2009) by Marianne Teleki. A Sundance Institute Fellow and a recipient of a Rockefeller Film/Video Fellowship, Deann is the Director, Producer, Writer of the new documentary, In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee, which will be broadcast nationally on PBS in Fall 2010. She is currently Executive Director of Katahdin Productions, a non-profit documentary production company based in Berkeley and Los Angeles, California. Learn more about DeAnn Borshay Liem on PBS’s Point of View.

Other speakers include: Marla Brettschneider, Naomi Cahn, Maryanne Cohen, Marley Greiner, Meredith Hall, Craig Hickman, Margaret Homans, Liberty Hultberg, B J Lifton, Kate Livingston, Karen McElmurray, Marianne Novy, Joyce Maguire Pavao, Adam Pertman, John Raible, Lisa Marie Rollins,Elizabeth Samuels, Sarah Tobias.

There will be a day of documentary films on Thursday, beginning with Sheila Ganz’s (left) film in progress Moms Living Clean.

Panels later in the conference will cover topics such as:
Secrecy and Policy
Lesbian/gay Secrecy Issues and Adoption
Complications of Search, Reunion and Aftermath
Transnational Adoption as Immigration Policy
Secrecy and Adoption: Historical Perspectives on the U.S., Europe, and Asia after World War II
Birthmothers: Agency and Activism
Biological Preference Critiqued and Analyzed
Secrecy and Openness: Legal Issues
TransracialAdoption in Contemporary American Literature
Adoptive Parents, Race, Difference

There will also be an evening of creative writing and performance on Friday, 4/30/10, featuring Lisa Marie Rollins; this evening and all keynotes are free and open to the public. All sessions free to MIT affiliates, and special rates are available for non-MITstudents and the un/underemployed.

For more information, visit our website (link above) or [email protected]

Sponsored by:
Mass Humanities
MIT Office of the Dean of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences,
Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, Literature Section, Program in Women’s and Gender Studies;
University of New Hampshire Center for the Humanities, College of Liberal Arts, Philosophy Department
Rutgers-Camden, Department of English
University of Pittsburgh Department of English

Sally Haslanger
Professor of Philosophy
Director, Women’s and Gender Studies
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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  1. Ron and other LDAs might be interested in the paper on Sebastian Barry’s Secret Scripture, or at least in the novel itself.


  2. I am really looking forward to seeing all of you there. I am hearing from more and more people planning to come, and I think we will have a good representation of birthmothers this year.

    I already have my train ticket…I love places i don’t have to fly to:-)

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