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"I Didn't Divorce My Kids!"
How Fathers Deal With Family Break-ups
Gerhard Amendt
Campus Verlag, 2008
Popular culture often portrays divorced fathers as deadbeats who have little interest in caring for the emotional, physical, and financial needs of their children. In the stereotype-shattering book, “I Didn’t Divorce My Kids!”, Gerhard Amendt presents the long-neglected plight of the divorced father who is plagued by grief and loneliness after being separated from his children. Based on surveys and in-depth interviews of thousands of such dads, Amendt reveals how fathers cope with trying to salvage their own lives while simultaneously maintaining relationships with their children after a painful divorce.
Amendt’s incisive look at divided families also explores the impact that a single-parent household has on children’s well-being, criticizing the American tendency to over-pathologize normal reactions to familial upheaval. Even the most civilized of divorces, Amendt argues, can cause rage, sadness, potential health problems, and behavioral disturbances in otherwise well-adjusted children. The broad spectrum of experiences recounted in “I Didn’t Divorce My Kids!” will be essential reading for anyone interested in, or personally shaped by, the changing face of the modern family.

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The Impotence Epidemic
Men's Medicine and Sexual Desire in Contemporary China
Everett Yuehong Zhang
Duke University Press, 2015
Since the 1990s China has seen a dramatic increase in the number of men seeking treatment for impotence. Everett Yuehong Zhang argues in The Impotence Epidemic that this trend represents changing public attitudes about sexuality in an increasingly globalized China. In this ethnography he shifts discussions of impotence as a purely neurovascular phenomenon to a social one. Zhang contextualizes impotence within the social changes brought by recent economic reform and through the production of various desires in post-Maoist China. Based on interviews with 350 men and their partners from Beijing and Chengdu, and concerned with de-mystifying and de-stigmatizing impotence, Zhang suggests that the impotence epidemic represents not just trauma and suffering, but also a contagion of individualized desire and an affirmation for living a full life. For Zhang, studying male impotence in China is one way to comprehend the unique experience of Chinese modernity.

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The Imprint of Another Life
Adoption Narratives and Human Possibility
Margaret Homans
University of Michigan Press, 2015

The Imprint of Another Life: Adoption Narratives and Human Possibilityaddresses a series of questions about common beliefs about adoption. Underlying these beliefs is the assumption that human qualities are innate and intrinsic, an assumption often held by adoptees and their families, sometimes at great emotional cost. This book explores representations of adoption—transracial, transnational, and domestic same-race adoption—that reimagine human possibility by questioning this assumption and conceiving of alternatives.

Literary scholar Margaret Homans examines fiction making’s special relationship to themes of adoption, an “as if” form of family making, fabricated or fictional instead of biological or “real.” Adoption has tended to generate stories rather than uncover bedrock truths. Adoptive families are made, not born; in the words of novelist Jeanette Winterson, “adopted children are self-invented because we have to be.” In attempting to recover their lost histories and identities, adoptees create new stories about themselves. While some believe that adoptees cannot be whole unless they reconnect with their origins, others believe that privileging biology reaffirms hierarchies (such as those of race) that harm societies and individuals. Adoption is lived and represented through an irresolvable tension between belief in the innate nature of human traits and belief in their constructedness, contingency, and changeability. The book shows some of the ways in which literary creation, and a concept of adoption as a form of creativity, manages this tension.

The texts examined include fiction (e.g., classic novels such as Silas Marner, What Maisie Knew, and Beloved); memoirs by adoptees, adoptive parents, and birthmothers; drama, documentary films, advice manuals, social science writing; and published interviews with adoptees, parents, and birth parents. Along the way the book tracks the quests of adoptees who, whether or not they meet their original families, must construct their own stories rather than finding them; follows transnational adoptees as they return, hopes held high, to Korea and China; looks over the shoulders of a generation of girls adopted from China as they watch Disney’s iconic Mulan, with its alluring story of destiny written on the skin; and listens to birthmothers as they struggle to tell painful secrets held for decades.

This book engages in debates within adoption studies, women’s and gender studies, transnational studies, and ethnic studies; it will appeal to literary scholars and critics, including specialists in memoir or narrative theory, and to general readers interested in adoption and in race.


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In Reunion
Transnational Korean Adoptees and the Communication of Family
Docan-Morgan, Sara
Temple University Press, 2024
“Do you know your real parents?” is a question many adoptees are asked. In In Reunion, Sara Docan-Morgan probes the basic notions of family, adoption, and parenthood by exploring initial meetings and ongoing relationships that transnational Korean adoptees have had with their birth parents and other birth family members. Drawing from qualitative interviews with adult Korean adoptees in the United States and Denmark, as well as her own experiences as an adoptee, Docan-Morgan illuminates the complexities of communication surrounding reunion.

The paradoxes of adoption and reunion—shared history without blood relations, and blood relations without shared history—generate questions: What does it mean to be “family”? How do people use communication to constitute family relationships? How are family relationships created, maintained, and negotiated over time? In Reunion details adoptive and cultural identities, highlighting how adoptees often end up shouldering communicative responsibility in their family relationships. Interviews reveal how adoptees navigate birth family relationships across language and culture while also attempting to maintain relationships with their adoptive family members.

Docan-Morgan details the challenges, rewards, and contradictions of reunion. She also offers practical recommendations for transnational adoptees in reunion, adoptees considering reunion, adoptive families, and adoption practitioners.

In tracing the stories of the intercultural dynamics inherent in adoptees’ reunions, Docan-Morgan demonstrates the effort, flexibility, empathy, self-reflection, and time required to navigate long-term relationships with birth families.

front cover of In Search Of Parenthood
In Search Of Parenthood
Coping with Infertility and High-Tech Conception
Judith N. Lasker and Susan Borg
Temple University Press, 1994
"Anyone considering a new method of conception or struggling to resolve infertility should read this book. The authors point to the need for more public discussion of infertility and more social support groups for the infertile. Reading and discussing this book is a first step. It is also an excellent supplementary text for courses in human sexuality, sex and gender roles, women and society, or medical ethics, and is guaranteed to provoke lively class discussion." --Contemporary Sociology This revised and updated edition provides an accessible discussion of how new reproductive technologies work and how well they work. Includes gripping personal and professional accounts from infertility specialists and would-be parents who have used in vitro fertilization, donor insemination, surrogacy, and other technologies. Would-be parents speak candidly about the difficult process--repeated office visits, frequent tests, and anxious waiting for results--and the staggering costs--in dollars, stress, and physical consequences. "This book will be useful for several audiences. Infertile women and men considering the new reproductive technologies will find this book an invaluable resource. Health professionals working with infertility patients will find that the book offers helpful insights into the experiences and concerns of their clients. Finally, researchers studying infertility will find this book to be a rich source of interesting hypotheses." --Contemporary Psychology "Lasker and Borg present a thoughtful and sensitive examination of the world of the new reproductive technologies. Most importantly, they offer us the voices of the women and men who have been there: in infertility clinics, in in vitro programs, in so-called 'surrogacy' contracts. They share with us the success and failure, joy and grief of our brave new world of reproduction." --Barbara Katz Rothman, author of The Tentative Pregnancy: Prenatal Diagnosis and the Future of Motherhood

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In the Shadow of Marriage
Gender and Justice in an African Community
Anne M. O. Griffiths
University of Chicago Press, 1997
Anne Griffiths originally went to Botswana to establish a university course in family law. But independent fieldwork in Botswana convinced her of the central role of the traditional customary legal system that stands alongside the colonial common law of courts and magistrates she was examining in her course. In the first comparative work on these two systems, Griffiths shows how the structure of both legal institutions is based on power and gender relations that heavily favor males.

Griffiths's analysis is based on careful observation of how people actually experience the law as well as the more standard tools of statutes and cases familiar to Western legal scholars. She explains how women's access to law is determined by social relations over which they have little control. In this powerful feminist critique of law and anthropology, Griffiths shows how law and custom are inseparable for Kwena women. Both colonial common law and customary law pose comparable and constant challenges to Kwena women's attempts to improve their positions in society.

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The Contested Legacy of Y-Indian Guides
Paul Hillmer
University of Missouri Press, 2023
In 1926, Harold Keltner, a YMCA Boys Work secretary from St. Louis, and Joe Friday, a member of the Canadian Ojibwe First Peoples, channeled white middle-class fascination with Native Americans into what became the Y-Indian Guides youth pro­gram, engaging over a half million participants across the nation at the height of its 77-year history. Intended to soften the stereo­typical stern father, the program traced a complicated thread of American history, touching upon themes of family, race, class, and privilege.

The Y-Indian Guides was a father-son (and later parent-child) program that encouraged real and enduring bonds through play and an authentic appreciation of family. While “playing Indian” seemed harmless to most participants during the pro­gram’s heyday, Paul Hillmer and Ryan Bean demonstrate the problematic nature of its methods. In the process of seeking to admire and emulate Indigenous Peoples, Y-Indian Guide participants often misrepresented American Indians and reinforced harmful ste­reotypes. Ultimately, this history demonstrates many ways in which American culture undermines and harms its Indigenous communities.


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Indicators of Change in the American Family
Abbott Lamoyne Ferriss
Russell Sage Foundation, 1970
Provides a selection of existing and new measures of family change. The statistical time series are presented and organized around the topics of marriage, marital status, households, fertility, divorce, dependency, work and income, and poverty. The series selected for inclusion were chosen because of an apparent or assumed significant change which they displayed. They are illustrated by graphs and accompanied by a brief commentary. The statistical series are numbered in an appendix, and sources of the data are cited at the foot of the page of commentary.

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Indigenous Motherhood in the Academy
Robin Zape-tah-hol-ah Minthorn
Rutgers University Press, 2022
Indigenous Motherhood in the Academy highlights the experiences and narratives emerging from Indigenous mothers in the academy who are negotiating their roles in multiple contexts. The essays in this volume contribute to the broader higher education literature and the literature on Indigenous representation in the academy, filling a longtime gap that has excluded Indigenous women scholar voices. This book covers diverse topics such as the journey to motherhood, lessons through motherhood, acknowledging ancestors and grandparents in one’s mothering, how historical trauma and violence plague the past, and balancing mothering through the healing process. More specific to Indigenous motherhood in the academy is how culture and place impacts mothering (specifically, if Indigenous mothers are not in their traditional homelands as they raise their children), how academia impacts mothering, how mothering impacts scholarship, and how to negotiate loss and other complexities between motherhood and one’s role in the academy.

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Inheritance Law And The Evolving Family
Ralph C. Brashier
Temple University Press, 2004
Nontraditional families are today an important part of American family life. Yet when a loved one dies, our inheritance laws are often stingy even towards survivors in the nuclear family. With humor, enthusiasm, and a bit of righteous outrage, Ralph C. Brashier explores how probate laws ignore gender roles and marital contributions of the spouse, often to the detriment of the surviving widow; how probate laws pretend that unmarried couples—particularly gay and lesbian ones—do not exist; how probate laws allow a parent to disinherit even the neediest child; and how probate laws for nonmarital children, adopted children, and children born of surrogacy or other forms of assisted reproductive technology are in flux or simply don't exist. A thoughtful examination of the current state of probate law and the inability of legislators to recognize and provide for the broad range of families in America today, this book will be read by those with an interest in the relationship between families and the law across a wide range of academic disciplines.

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Intimate Associations
The Law and Culture of American Families
J. Herbie DiFonzo and Ruth C. Stern
University of Michigan Press, 2013

The rise in divorce, cohabitation, single parenthood, and same-sex partnerships, along with an increase in surrogacy, adoption, and assisted reproductive technologies, has led to many diverse configurations of families, or intimate associations. J. Herbie DiFonzo and Ruth C. Stern chart these trends over the past several decades and investigate their social, legal, and economic implications.

Drawing upon a wealth of social science data, they show that, by a number of measures, children of married parents fare better than children in a household formed by cohabiting adults. This is not to condemn nontraditional families, but to point out that society and the law do not yet adequately provide for their needs. The authors applaud the ways in which courts and legislatures are beginning to replace rigid concepts of marriage and parenthood with the more flexible concept of “functional” family roles. In the conclusion, they call for a legal system that can adapt to the continually changing reality of family life.


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Intimate Connections
Love and Marriage in Pakistan’s High Mountains
Anna-Maria Walter
Rutgers University Press, 2022
Intimate Connections dissects ideas, feelings, and practices around love, marriage, and respectability in the remote high mountains of Gilgit-Baltistan in northern Pakistan. It offers insightful perspectives from the emotional lives of Shia women and their active engagement with their husbands. These gender relations are shaped by countless factors, including embodied values of modesty and honor, vernacular fairy tales and Bollywood movies, Islamic revivalism and development initiatives. In particular, the advent of media and communication technologies has left a mark on (pre)marital relations in both South Asia and the wider Muslim world. Juxtaposing different understandings of ‘love’ reveals rich and manifold worlds of courtship, elopements, family dynamics, and more or less affectionate matches that are nowadays often initiated through SMS. Deep ethnographic accounts trace the relationships between young couples to show how Muslim women in a globalized world dynamically frame and negotiate circumstances in their lives.

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Intimate Disconnections
Divorce and the Romance of Independence in Contemporary Japan
Allison Alexy
University of Chicago Press, 2020
In many ways, divorce is a quintessentially personal decision—the choice to leave a marriage that causes harm or feels unfulfilling to the two people involved. But anyone who has gone through a divorce knows the additional public dimensions of breaking up, from intense shame and societal criticism to friends’ and relatives’ unsolicited advice. In Intimate Disconnections, Allison Alexy tells the fascinating story of the changing norms surrounding divorce in Japan in the early 2000s, when sudden demographic and social changes made it a newly visible and viable option. Not only will one of three Japanese marriages today end in divorce, but divorces are suddenly much more likely to be initiated by women who cite new standards for intimacy as their motivation. As people across Japan now consider divorcing their spouses, or work to avoid separation, they face complicated questions about the risks and possibilities marriage brings: How can couples be intimate without becoming suffocatingly close? How should they build loving relationships when older models are no longer feasible? What do you do, both legally and socially, when you just can’t take it anymore?
Relating the intensely personal stories from people experiencing different stages of divorce, Alexy provides a rich ethnography of Japan while also speaking more broadly to contemporary visions of love and marriage during an era in which neoliberal values are prompting wide-ranging transformations in homes across the globe.

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Intimate Geopolitics
Love, Territory, and the Future on India’s Northern Threshold
Sara Smith
Rutgers University Press, 2020
Winner of the 2021 Julian Minghi Distinguished Book Award from the American Association of Geographers​
2021 Foreword Indies Finalist - Politics and Social Sciences

Intimate Geopolitics begins with a love story set in the Himalayan region of Ladakh, in India’s Jammu and Kashmir State, but this is also a story about territory, and the ways that love, marriage, and young people are caught up in contemporary global processes. In Ladakh, children grow up to adopt a religious identity in part to be counted in the census, and to vote in elections. Religion, population, and voting blocs are implicitly tied to territorial sovereignty and marriage across religious boundaries becomes a geopolitical problem in an area that seeks to define insiders and outsiders in relation to borders and national identity. This book populates territory, a conventionally abstract rendering of space, with the stories of those who live through territorial struggle at marriage and birth ceremonies, in the kitchen and in the bazaar, in heartbreak and in joy. Intimate Geopolitics argues for the incorporation of the role of time–temporality–into our understanding of territory.

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Intimate Inequalities
Millennials' Romantic Relationships in Contemporary Times
Cristen Dalessandro
Rutgers University Press, 2021
When it comes to the topic of romantic and sexual intimacy, social observers are often quick to throw criticisms at millennials. However, we know little about millennials’ own hopes, fears, struggles, and triumphs in their relationships from the perspectives of millennials themselves. Intimate Inequalities uses millennials’ own stories to explore how they navigate gender, race, social class, sexuality, and age identities and expectations in their relationships. Situating millennials’ lives within contemporary social and cultural conditions in the United States, Intimate Inequalities takes an intersectional approach to examining how millennials challenge—or rather, uphold—social inequalities in their lives as they come into their own as full adults. Intimate Inequalities provides an in-depth look into the intimate lives of one group of millennials living in the United States, demystifying what actually goes on behind closed doors, and arguing that millennials’ private lives can reveal much about their ability to navigate inequalities in their lives more broadly.

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Islamic Divorce in the Twenty-First Century
A Global Perspective
Erin E. Stiles
Rutgers University Press, 2022
Islamic Divorce in the 21st Century shows the wide range of Muslim experiences in marital disputes and in seeking Islamic divorces. For Muslims, having the ability to divorce in accordance with Islamic law is of paramount importance. However, Muslim experiences of divorce practice differ tremendously. The chapters in this volume discuss Islamic divorce from West Africa to Southeast Asia, and each story explores aspects of the everyday realities of disputing and divorcing Muslim couples face in the twenty-first century. The book’s cross-cultural and comparative look at Islamic divorce indicates that Muslim divorces are impacted by global religious discourses on Islamic authority, authenticity, and gender; by global patterns of and approaches to secularity; and by global economic inequalities and attendant patterns of urbanization and migration. Studying divorce as a mode of Islamic law in practice shows us that the Islamic legal tradition is flexible, malleable, and context-dependent.

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