Keynote Speakers

Sleeping Giants in Adoption:

Power, Privilege, Politics and Class

May 29-31 2014

(Thursday evening to Saturday afternoon)

This Year’s Keynote Speakers & Panelists are as follows:

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Dr. Laura Briggs

Dr. Laura Briggs is an interdisciplinary scholar whose work deals with reproductive politics in a transnational context, focusing especially on questions of the U.S. relationship to Latin America, Laura Briggs is professor and chair of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Herself an adoptive parent, she has been writing about politics, policy, and the role of power and inequality in shaping how birth mothers lose their children to adoption for the past ten years. In addition to numerous articles, she is the co-editor with Diana Marre of International Adoption: Global Inequalities and the Circulation of Children (New York University Press, 2009), and most recently, author of Somebody’s Children: The Politics of Transracial and Transnational Adoption (Duke University Press, 2012), winner of the James A. Rawley Prize of the Organization of American Historians. She is also the author of Reproducing Empire: Race, Sex, Science and the U.S. Imperial Project in Puerto Rico (University of California Press, 2002).

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Dr. Gina Samuels

Gina Miranda Samuels is an Associate Professor at the School of Social Service Administration and a Faculty Affiliate of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture. Her research focuses on transracial adoption, mixed race and multiethnic identity formation, interpretive research methods, and the development of relational, kinship, and cultural ties among young adults whose childhoods are shaped by foster care and adoption. Of particular interest are domains of well-being related to identity development, emotional and relational health, ambiguous loss, and belonging. Professor Miranda Samuels’ scholarship situates these aspects of development within a broader social and political context to critically explore how well-being is both constrained and promoted by child welfare policy and practice and by societal and personal constructions of race and family. She makes use of interpretive methods of research to inform foster care and adoption practice and policy. Professor Miranda Samuels’ most recent project involves exploring child welfare professionals’ conceptions of well-being, relational health, and social emotional healing for youth and families involved in foster care.

Professor Miranda Samuels is a Board Affiliate of MAVIN Foundation, a national organization addressing the needs and concerns of multiracial populations and transracial adoptees. She serves as a consulting editor for several journals including Child Welfare, Children Youth Services Review, Family Process, Marriage and the Family, Family Relations, and Race and Ethnic Studies.  She has been teaching at the college level for over 20 years.  At SSA, she teaches courses on direct social work practice, interpretive research methods, and family systems theory and practice. She also teaches continuing education courses in the Professional Development Program to child welfare professionals on transracial adoption and family systems theory.

Professor Miranda Samuels received her M.S.S.W and Ph.D. in Social Work and Social Welfare at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she received a Council on Social Work Education Minority research fellowship funded through the National Institute of Mental Health. She has practiced social work in the areas of child welfare and child protective services, juvenile probation, Afrocentric school-based education programs, and group therapy with female youth.