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Barbara Yngvesson

Background and Research Focus

Barbara YngvessonBarbara Yngvesson, professor emerita of anthropology, received her B.A. from Barnard and her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. She is former Dean of the School of Social Science at Hampshire College, and founding director of the interdisciplinary Program in Culture, Brain, and Development there.

Her interests include the cultural study of law, family and kinship; theories of identity and belonging; and transnational migration (with a focus on transnational families and international adoption).

With research supported by several grants from the National Science Foundation, she is the author of Virtuous Citizens, Disruptive Subjects: Order and Complaint in a New England Court (Routledge, 1993); Law and Community in Three American Towns (Cornell, 1994, co-authored with Carol Greenhouse and David Engel), recipient of the 1996 Law and Society Association Book Award; and Belonging in an Adopted World: Race, Identity and Transnational Adoption (Chicago, 2010).

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Selected Publications


Belonging in an Adopted World: Race, Identity, and Transnational Adoption.
2010. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

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"The Child Who Was Left Behind: 'Dynamic Temporality' and Interpretations of History in Transnational Adoption," Childhood 20(3): 354-367, August 2013.

"Border Politics," in James G. Carrier and Deborah Gewertz (eds.), Handbook of Sociocultural Anthropology. Berg, 2013.

"Transnational Adoption and European Immigration Politics: Producing the National Body in Sweden," Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 19(1): 327-345, 2012.

"Transnational Adoption and the Transnationalization of Motherhood: Rethinking Abandonment, Adoption, and Return," in Wendy Chavkin and JaneMaree Maher (eds.), Globalized Motherhood. New York: Routledge, 2010.

"Figuring Kinship in the Space of Adoption," Anthropological Quarterly 80(2):561-579, 2007.

 "Backed by Papers: Undoing Persons, Histories, and Return," American Ethnologist 33(2): 177-190, 2006 (with Susan Coutin).

 "National Bodies and the Body of the Child: ‘Completing' Families through International Adoption," in Fiona Bowie (ed.), Cross-Cultural Approaches to Adoption, pp. 211-226. London: Routledge , 2004. 

 "Going 'Home': Adoption, Loss of Bearings, and the Mythology of Roots," Social Text 21(1): 7-27, Spring 2003, Special Issue on Transnational Kinship. Reprinted in Janelle Taylor, Linda Layne, and Danielle Wozniak (eds.), Consuming Motherhood, pp. 168-186. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2004; and in Toby Volkman (ed.), Cultures of Transnational Adoption, pp. 25-48. Durham: Duke University Press, 2005.

 "Placing the ‘Gift' Child in Transnational Adoption," Law and Society Review 36(2):227-256, Special Issue on Non-Biological Parenting, 2002.

 "In the Mirror: The Legitimation Work of Globalization," Law and Social Inquiry 27(3): 801-843, 2002 (with Susan Coutin and Bill Maurer). Awarded Law & Society Association Article Prize, 2003.

 "'Un Niño de Cualquier Color': Race and Nation in Intercountry Adoption," in
 Jane Jenson and Boaventura de Sousa Santos (eds.) Globalizing Institutions: Case Studies of Regulation and Innovation, pp. 169-204. Ashcroft, England: Ashgate, 2000.

"'As One Should, Ought, and Wants to Be': Authenticity and Belonging in Identity
 Narratives," (with Maureen Mahoney), Theory, Culture and Society, 17(6):77-110, 2000.

 "Negotiating Motherhood: Identity and Difference in 'Open' Adoptions," Law and Society Review 31(1): 31-80, 1997.

"The Construction of Subjectivity and the Paradox of Resistance: Reintegrating Feminist Anthropology and Psychology" Signs 18: 44-73 (with Maureen Mahoney), 1992.


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