This edited collection applies kinship as an analytical concept to better understand the affective economies, discursive practices, and aesthetic dimensions through which cultural narratives of belonging establish a sense of intimacy and affiliation. In North American and European ethnic literatures, kinship has several social functions: negotiating diasporic belonging in and outside of the perimeters of bloodlines and genealogy; positioning queer-feminist interventions to counter ethno-nationalist narratives of belonging; challenging liberal sentimentalist narratives, such as those grafted onto the bodies of transnational adoptees; re-formulating cultural heterogeneity through interracial and interethnic kinship constellations outside either post-racial assumptions about colorblindness or celebrations of racial and ethnic pluralism. In all of these cases, kinship features as a common theme through which contemporary authors attend to challenges of conscribing individuals into inclusive, counter-hegemonic cultural narratives of belonging.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Theorizing Kinship and Ethnicity in Contemporary North American and European Literature
Silvia Schultermandl und Klaus Rieser
- From Familiar to Familial: Gloria Anzaldúa’s Queer Rhetorical Kinship
- From China to Cuba, and Back: The Conundrums of Ethnic Identity and Kinship in Cristina García’s Monkey Hunting
John Wharton Lowe
- In Praise of the Kitchen Poet: Cooking as Kinship in Ethnic Culinary Memoirs
- Beyond Kinship and National Identity: Ika Hügel-Marshall’s Daheim Unterwegs: Ein Deutsches Leben
- Care, Intimacy, and Kinship: Rethinking Traditional Narratives of the Family in Adrian Tomine’s "A Brief History of the Art Form Known as ‘Hortisculpture’"
- Narratives of Intimacy: Ethnic Nationalism, Kinship, and Sexuality in Contemporary Bosnian-Herzegovinian Literature
- Paper Families and Absent Motherhood in Fae Myenne Ng’s Steer Toward Rock
- "In between names and grass and murmuring": Queer Diasporic Mourning and Kinship in Dionne Brand’s In Another Place, Not Here
- Kinship Patterns and Practices in Joseph Boyden’s The Orenda and the Limits of Reconciliation in Canada
- Kinship Between Transracial Adoptees: A Case for the Kinship of Loss
Loss as Kinship
Silvia Schultermandl is Professor and Chair of American Studies at the University of Münster. She is the author of Ambivalent Transnational Belongings in American Literature and the series co-editor of Palgrave Studies in Mediating Kinship, Representation, and Difference.
Klaus Rieser is Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Graz. His publications have dealt with topics such as masculinities in film, iconic figures, and contact spaces. He is co-founder and co-editor of JAAAS—Journal of the Austrian Association for American Studies, which launched in 2020.
"Ethnicity and Kinship in North American and European Literatures is a gem of a book. Skilfully weaving together a range of approaches and orientations to kinship, this collection blends theory and emotion with a result that is satisfying to both heart and mind. This anthology disrupts static notions of family and kin and puts them back together in dynamic and affective ways. This book is essential reading for scholars of literary studies and anthropology but will enrich the scholarship of academics and students in an array of other disciplines." May Friedman, Associate Professor, Ryerson University
"Rieser and Schultermandl have assembled a spectacular range of essays on the social, legal, aesthetic, and affective practices through which kinship and belonging are mobilized. Collectively, the articles explore the transformation of intimate ties into kinship communities often premised on the exclusion of immigrant, racial, and sexual others. Working across anthropology, history, race studies, and queer theory in its explorations of relational bonds, Ethnicity and Kinship in North American and European Literatures is a must read for anyone interested in the topic." David L. Eng, Richard L. Fisher Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania