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Transracial Adoption, White Cosmopolitanism and the Fantasy of the Global Family

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This article takes at its point of the departure the practice of transracial adoption of children and adults. During the colonial period, it was not only non-white native children or adults who were adopted by white colonisers and settlers; the opposite also occurred. The existence of these ‘inverted’ transracial adoptions is well-documented in literary and autobiographical texts and historical documents, as well as in art and visual culture. At that time, the white transracial adoptee who had been transformed into the Other was stigmatised and even demonised as something of an ethno-racial monster transgressing the boundaries between Europeans and non-Europeans. This article aims to re-conceptualise transracial adoption within the framework of the fundamental inability of Europeans to attach to the lands and peoples outside Europe by making use of the concepts of indigenisation and autochtonisation.

Keywords: James Arvanitakis; Tobias Hübinette; autochtonisation; cosmopolitanism; global family; going native; indigenisation; interracial intimacy; reconciliation; settler societies; transracial adoption; whiteness

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 1, 2012

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