Comm. Arts Faculty Member Explores Mother-Adopted Child Dialogues


Dr. Lynne Webb, Professor in Communication Arts, co-wrote an essay entitled “Mothers’ Reports of Challenging Conversations with their Adopted Children,” which appears as Chapter 13 in Performing Motherhood: Artistic, Activist, and Everyday Enactments.

The chapter addresses the identities of adoptive mothers by spotlighting the ways in which these mothers are constantly in the process of rewriting their children’s adoption story scripts. Specifically, it examines what communication strategies adoptive mothers report as the most effective way of addressing issues that arise in mother-child conversations about the child’s adoptive status. Webb serves as a second author for this essay on communication strategies of adoptive mothers. This research was drawn from its first author’s (Elyse Warford) thesis, directed by Webb.

Performing Motherhood explores relationships between performativity and the maternal. This collection examines a mother’s creativity and agency as they perform in everyday life: in mothering, in activism, and in the arts. Chapters contain theoretically grounded works that emerge from multiple disciplines and cross-disciplines and include first-person narratives, empirical studies, artistic representations, and performance pieces. This book focuses on motherwork, maternal agency, mothers multiple identities and marginalized maternal voices, and explores how these are performatively constituted, negotiated and affirmed.

This collection is a “remarkable collection of studies about mothering that combines scholarly theory, personal and professional passion, and hope for change through creating new choices. The voices of the writers reveal not only their diverse personalities and experiences of what constitutes family but also the range of challenges they face and their creative interactions with the role of mother, especially new mother. Using a variety of research traditions, they explore the diversity of performing motherhood. A must read for academic mothers and daughters,” said Alice H. Deakins, William Paterson University, Editor of Mothers and Daughters: Complicated Connections Across Cultures.

“This book reached in and quenched a thirst for connection in me. I realized how unaware I had previously been of my deep yearning for connection with mothers specifically through considerations of the performance of mothering. Through the rich array of stories and studies in this book, I felt as though I gained a back stage glimpse of how others perform the role of mother and to what reviews. This is a must read for both scholars and enthusiasts accessible, smart and richly varied,” said Beth Osnes, Assistant Professor of Theatre at the University of Colorado and Author of Theatre for Women’s Participation in Sustainable Development.

Performing Motherhood contains 19 chapters across 312 pages and is available on Its editors are Amber E. Kinser, Professor of Communication at East Tennessee State University; Kryn Freehling-Burton, Senior Instructor and E-Campus Advisor at Oregon State; and Terri Hawkes, Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies PhD student at New York University.

Professor Webb (PhD, University of Oregon) conducts research on computer-mediated communication in personal relationships. She joined the FIU faculty in August 2013 after serving on the University of Arkansas faculty where she was named a J. William Fulbright Master Researcher. The courses she teaches at FIU include Interpersonal Communication, Conflict Management, and Communication in Social Media.

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