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Mother, Child, Race, Nation: The Visual Iconography of Rescue and the Politics of Transnational and Transracial Adoption

Mother, Child, Race, Nation: The Visual Iconography of Rescue and the Politics of Transnational... ‘Third World’ poverty and hunger conjures up certain conventionalised images: thin children, with or without their mothers. This paper explores the genealogy of such images in the mid‐twentieth century, and shows how they mobilise ideologies of ‘rescue’ while pointing away from structural (political, military and economic) explanations for poverty, famine and other disasters. These images had a counterpart in practices of transnational and transracial adoption, which became the subject of debate in the USA during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, and were at least as much about symbolic debates over race as the fate of particular children. Together, these visual and familial practices made US foreign and domestic poverty policy intelligible as a debate over whether to save women and children. When they cast the USA as rescuer, they made it all but impossible to understand what US political, military or economic power had to do with creating the problem. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Gender & History Wiley

Mother, Child, Race, Nation: The Visual Iconography of Rescue and the Politics of Transnational and Transracial Adoption

Gender & History , Volume 15 (2) – Aug 1, 2003

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References (35)

Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2003.
ISSN
0953-5233
eISSN
1468-0424
DOI
10.1111/1468-0424.00298
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

‘Third World’ poverty and hunger conjures up certain conventionalised images: thin children, with or without their mothers. This paper explores the genealogy of such images in the mid‐twentieth century, and shows how they mobilise ideologies of ‘rescue’ while pointing away from structural (political, military and economic) explanations for poverty, famine and other disasters. These images had a counterpart in practices of transnational and transracial adoption, which became the subject of debate in the USA during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, and were at least as much about symbolic debates over race as the fate of particular children. Together, these visual and familial practices made US foreign and domestic poverty policy intelligible as a debate over whether to save women and children. When they cast the USA as rescuer, they made it all but impossible to understand what US political, military or economic power had to do with creating the problem.

Journal

Gender & HistoryWiley

Published: Aug 1, 2003

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