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Family and Kinship in the United States

Cultural Perspectives on Familial Belonging

Karolina Golimowska, Reinhard Isensee and David Rose

The volume takes a close look at the forms and functions of family and kinship in cultural narratives in the United States. It analyzes social and cultural contexts of kinship and family membership, relations of family and nation on a metaphorical level, and the political discourses that regulate sexuality and reproduction. Representations of family and kinship inform all aspects of American life, which is prominently noticeable in politics, legislation, art, and the media. Family discourses are employed to communicate and negotiate constellations of power and they can serve to investigate differences, struggles, alliances, strategic endeavors, and innovative conceptualizations of kinship. The essays collected in this volume provide readings of texts across various genres that highlight the role of cultural production in reconfiguring paradigms of family and kinship in the US.
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Changing Family Models: A Study of Highly Recommended Children’s Picture Books from the United States, Canada, and Brazil

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Introduction

This study presents the results of a research project on highly recommended picture books recently published in the United States, Canada, and Brazil. The focus lies on the representation of changing families. It analyzes how family members are represented in these books with special attention given to changes involving the father figure. Taking recent changes in the nuclear family into account, as well as the growing recognition of alternative families (Alston 8), this research project aims to investigate whether these changes have been incorporated into children’s picture books, as it is assumed they would be reflected in literature. Picture books are defined here as “a combination of verbal texts and visual images” (Nodelman, “Illustration” 114) and are understood as in the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Best Books for Kids & Teens, that is, books targeting one- to eleven-year-olds.

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