Conceptions of being and belonging beyond nation and culture, and genes

Plakat Adoptive Being
Date: 06.12.2018
Room: FU Berlin, JK 33/121
Organization: Dorothea Trotter (Please register for the workshop by 26. November 2018:

Cultural identity has been a term of contention since before the rise of nations in the 19th century, but since decolonization, the sharp-increase of interactions between cultural groups through migration has led to tensions in behavior and communication that force postcolonial and contemporary scholars to interrogate conceptions of identity further. Studies of transcultural adoption in particular reveal the tensions between biogenetic and cultural conceptions of identity.

With his most recent book Life Lines: Writing Transcultural Adoption (Bloomsbury, 2015) John McLeod claims to shape a new concept of “adoptive being” from the transgressive and transformative possibilities of thinking through adoption, and he explores the “new forms of transpersonal relations and modes of personhood that transcultural adoption texts may prefigure beyond the usual lines of biogenetic, racial or cultural filiation.”

Invited by the FSGS to speak at the Freie Uni, John McLeod’s talk about his concept “adoptive being” will set the tone for a theoretical workshop that will involve postcolonial methods of addressing identity and newer ways of conceptualizing personhood, such as transnational identity and cosmopolitanism, but also to look at what happens when biocentric environments lose their priority in personal narrative construction. The workshop will start at 11:45 and run through 17:15 with breaks. Interested persons can sign-up for the talk without plans to attend the workshop; however, workshops participants are expected to attend the talk beforehand.

Participants will be given access to a reader that will allow the group to work with theoretical texts, Caryl Phillips’ 1993 Crossing the River, and Jackie Kay’s 2010 Red Dust Road for discussion.

The talk and workshop will be held in English.


10:15 Talk by JOHN MCLEOD  “Adoptive Being and Postcolonial Writing” followed by Q & A

11:15 Coffee Break

11:45 Block One of Workshop

13:30 Lunch

14:45 Block Two of Workshop

16:30 Coffee Break

16:45 Closing Discussion