Racial Attachments: Dis/organizing Kinship

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In “The Color of Kinship,” Jaya Keaney discusses the deracializing of kinship, in which “the characteristic verticality of race is flattened into a horizontal resource to be managed [individually] rather than shared as a collective responsibility” (2021, 195). Keaney’s work resonates with what David Eng calls the “racialization of intimacy” that is grounded in “the forgetting of race and the denial of racial difference” (2010, 4).

Emphasizing the importance of race in the Nordic context, this panel aims to attract papers investigating its intersections with gender, sexuality, and kinship and the regulation and governance of kinship and attachments in relation to the racial welfare state (Schclarek Mulinari & Keskinen 2020). Specifically, we are interested in work that highlights how the organization and disruption of kinship formations are imbricated with processes of racialization and racism. Among other possible topics, we welcome papers engaging with the relations between capitalism and kinship and the importance of the “family” as a central institution of racial formations in the Nordic welfare state, including questions of pro-natalism, eugenics, assimilation, belonging, attachment, intimacy, and/or border regimes.

We also seek contributions that centre non-dominant formations of kinship and living arrangements that must negotiate the regulatory ideals of the (white) cisheteronormative nuclear family and coupledom, for example polymaternalism, childfree lives, parenting by Black, Indigenous and people of colour, LGBTQI kinship formations and perspectives and interventions such as the abolishment of the family (Lewis 2019; Weeks 2021). Welcome theoretical angles include Black feminism, affect theory, biopolitics, racial capitalism, care ethics, social reproduction theory, decolonial theory, and more.


Riikka Prattes is affiliated with the Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies program at Duke University. She is a co-founder and member of the Revaluing Care in the Global Economy network based at Duke. Her research foci include critical studies on men and masculinities, the international division of reproductive labor, care ethics, critical race and whiteness studies, decolonial theory, feminist and social epistemologies and embodiment, and affect theory. Her latest article “‘I don’t clean up after myself’: Epistemic Ignorance, Responsibility and the Politics of the Outsourcing of Domestic Cleaning,” was published in Feminist Theory. 

Lene Myong is professor at Centre for Gender Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Stavanger. Her scholarship examines the intersections of gender, race and kinship, the biopolitics of transnational adoption and the continued impact of assimilation, racialization, and racism in the Nordics. Her work has been published in journals such as NORA: Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, Ethnic and Racial Studies, and Nordic Journal of Migration Research.  

Published Sep. 20, 2021 3:18 PM - Last modified Sep. 21, 2021 2:58 PM