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The Ethics of International Adoption (w/ Rachel Nolan)

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Centre for Ethics

Room 200, Second Floor, Larkin Building, 15 Devonshire Place

Toronto, ON, Ontario M5S 1H8

Canada

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The Ethics of International Adoption

Illegal or gray adoptions are most frequently associated with armed conflicts and dirty wars in Argentina, Francoist Spain, and Nazi Germany. Cross-racial forcible adoption also has a painful history as part of settler colonial projects in Canada, the U.S., and Australia. This talk will consider a case that combines elements of both historical patterns: Guatemala during the twentieth century. International adoptions began during Guatemala’s civil war (1960-1996) and grew rapidly–overtaking other “sender” countries until 1 in 110 children born in Guatemala was relinquished at the height of the adoption boom. This talk will draw on oral histories, judicial records, and all of the state adoption files from the period to consider the adoptions of indigenous children during the most violent years of the war (1982-1986) without meaningful parental consent as part of a wider project to erase indigenous peoples. Forcible adoption is just now beginning to be understood, like sexual violence, as a tool of war and social control.

Rachel Nolan
Columbia University
Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race

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Centre for Ethics

Room 200, Second Floor, Larkin Building, 15 Devonshire Place

Toronto, ON, Ontario M5S 1H8

Canada

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