Date of Award


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Cultural Studies, PhD


School of Arts and Humanities

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

David Luis-Brown

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

David Seitz

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Dionne Bensonsmith

Terms of Use & License Information

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Rights Information

© 2024 Alicia Boyce


Adoption, Black diaspora, Black feminism, Foster Care, Foster care diaspora, Marxism

Subject Categories

Geography | Race and Ethnicity


In this dissertation I argue that global foster care and adoption systems should be abolished because they are trauma inducing and grief producing state apparatuses that cyclically act to destabilize Black and “Other” subaltern populations from one generation to the next. Global foster care and adoption systems have become as common sensical as enslavement and chattel slavery all were as these systems are considered widely socially acceptable, common modes of domination and methods for controlling Black and “Other” populations. I coin a diaspora of community and cultural destabilization called the foster care diaspora (FCD), a theory and framing device that explains the interconnectivities between methods of Black disbursement, which have continuously impacted the Black woman figure and her offspring during the last seven centuries. Foster care diaspora, as a theory and framing device, refers to the lack of reproductive rights that Black women and Black mothers face as they become entangled in foster care and adoption systems, along with other state apparatuses, that police and regulate Black women’s bodies. The FCD suggests that methods of domination by empires and state entities, such as enslavement and chattel slavery, along with prisons, orphanages, foster care and adoption systems, hospitals, and other state institutions, are deeply connected to current methods of community destabilization, uprootedness, and dislocation for subaltern populations. Drawing a connection between global foster care systems, adoption systems, and the Black diaspora I rely on the conceptualization of Man by Black feminist scholar Sylvia Wynter. Both Man1 and Man2 maintain systems of oppression, such as racism, sexism, misogynoir, classism, and so on. In “Unsettling the Coloniality…” Wynter proposes that Man1 developed from the 14th to the 17th centuries and traveled to New Worlds for religious and exploration purposes, developing the physical sciences, such as geology and astronomy, around the conception of terra nullius, or lands of no one. Man 1 devised plans to redefine Others’ spiritual beliefs in land, living creatures, Gods, and cultural practices which were viewed by European visitors and colonizers as heathenistic, ungodly, and outside of God’s (singular) desires. Katherine McKittrick examined Wynter’s conception of Man2 in her book, Demonic Grounds: Black Women and the Cartographies of Struggle, explaining that Man2 was invented in the wake of Man1 alongside biological sciences, transatlantic slavery, and colonialism for the sake of land expansion, conquest of land and peoples, and the accumulation of capital. With the aid of Wynter’s Man1 and Man2 I trace the ways that the Black woman and mother figures became inaccurately depicted as the absolute and sole creator of Blackness within Western epistemes, beginning with, and in the aftermath of, partus sequitur ventrem . I map the intimacies, referencing both Christina Sharpe’s and Lisa Lowe’s dialogues on “intimacies”, between these two figures, as well as the construction of Blackness and geopolitical spaces in the Black diaspora and the FCD, overall determining that each are all intimately intertwined. I emphasize that the FCD should be abolished through investments into Black diasporic and Other subaltern communities and by disinvesting from policing, monitoring, punishment, and other methods to inaccurately narrate, dislocate, uproot, and disperse people in the Black diaspora and in the foster care diaspora.