On Creative and Creating Narratives of Mixedness, Adoption and Fostering in Literary and Sociological Research

Osborne, Deirdre and Peters, Fiona. 2016. 'On Creative and Creating Narratives of Mixedness, Adoption and Fostering in Literary and Sociological Research'. In: New Urban Multicultures: Conviviality and Racism. Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

Deirdre Osborne and Fiona Peters share an aim to bring into dialogue their use of methods from the disciplines of the humanities and social sciences, in a creative co-production, to open discussions that are critically based and creatively responsive to work at the fringes of diasporic heritages: (i) trans-racial adoption and fostering; (ii) mixedness in contexts of trans-racial families.

While diasporic heritages can cross both ethnic and racialized boundaries, mixedness is theorized as an identity of adults. How do children in foster care articulate their ethnic and racial connections? In the setting of foster care how does the separation from birth family (which retains its structuring absence) re-create a domestic landscape in which mixed children make sense of their lives?

A number of contemporary monodramas written and performed by British women of multi-ethnic heritage and not necessarily adoptees, (The Story of M (2002) by SuAndi, Moj of the Antarctic (2008) by Mojisola Adebayo and Josephine and I (2013) by Cush Jumbo), employ polyphonic and trans-generic techniques to articulate perspectives and experiences of mixedness: racially and culturally. When read alongside the spoken narratives of mixed children in foster care, this inserts a new multicultural story about belonging, family and childhood and creates space to examine the politicized decision-making within Children’s Social Care. The spoken narratives illustrate the uniqueness of these childhoods, the varied lived experiences among groups constituted and organized by racialization and classification, and the confusion brought about by a bi-racial landscape in which mixedness sits at the margins of knowledge. In the monodramas the self-legitimising power of writing in one’s own terms, literally and literarily, against all aesthetic odds, is shown as loosening the perceptions of racial and chromatic determiners as not fixed, but mixed.

Noting that a cross-disciplinary critical lexicon does not yet exist to adequately addresses the self-fashioning and re-inventive capacities represented in case study narratives and dramatic-poetics, the paper proposes some ways in which the two fields can be interwoven through considering identities as ‘performed’ on and off the page.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


Mixedness, Adoption, Fostering, Diasporic heritages

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17 May 2016Accepted

Event Location:

Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom

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Date Deposited:

09 Jan 2019 15:19

Last Modified:

09 Jan 2019 15:19



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