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Family and Kinship in the United States

Cultural Perspectives on Familial Belonging

Edited By 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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Prodigal Son or Prodigal Father? Ambiguous Family Roles and Narrative Strategies in Gilead and Home by Marilynne Robinson


Claiming that authors include biblical themes and motifs in their work because they want to use their writing to connect readers to whatever important or powerful message the Bible can convey, may be an indication of a rather limited interpretative approach. However, scholars writing about Robinson’s works seem to agree that it is hardly possible to ignore Robinson’s personal attitude to the teachings of the Bible and John Calvin. Jennifer L. Holberg writes:

As anyone with even a passing familiarity with Robinson’s work knows, her project is deeply embedded in a rich Christian theology – one that considers “fragments of the quotidian” (another winsome phrase from Housekeeping) integral to any conception of the holy. Significantly, Robinson’s theology is explicitly and insistently Calvinist; in interview after interview, in her essays and speeches, she invokes John Calvin as central to her artistic mission. (283)

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