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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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Viola Amato completed her doctorate in North American Literature and Culture at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin with a dissertation on intersex representations in contemporary autobiographical, literary, and popular cultural narratives. She was a postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University, where she worked on a research project about the intersections of queer and class politics. Her research and publications focus on queer and gender issues, social class, resistance movements, and the effects of neoliberalism on higher education. Viola was an adjunct teacher at Humboldt and served as a mentor for first-generation students. She has long been active in the academic equal opportunities work.

Barbara Antoniazzi is an independent scholar and an English teacher. She holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from Freie Universität Berlin and is the author of The Wayward Woman: Progressivism, Prostitution and Performance in the United States, 1888–1917 (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2014). She serves as peer reviewer for the European Journal of American Studies. Her current research interests include blackness in America and the culture of neoliberalism.

Benjamin Betka studied Information and Communication before switching to American Studies, Philosophy, and Pedagogics at Leibniz Universität Hannover and at San Angelo State, TX. In his research at Goethe-Universität Frankfurt he focuses on the relationship between theories of cinema and epistemology. Thus he works towards a more encompassing and contemporary study of media and affect that is able to transcend traditional dualisms between brains and screens.

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