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Discover the captivating NOVEL by the talented author Sunnah M Laybourne, intricately weaving stories of characters who feel OUT OF PLACE.


Join us as we welcome  SUNAH M LAYBOURN on WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17 at 6:00 pm to celebrate the launch of her new book OUT OF PLACE: THE LIVES OF KOREAN ADOPTEE IMMIGRANTS.



How Korean adoptees went from being adoptable orphans to deportable immigrants.

Since the early 1950s, over 125,000 Korean children have been adopted in the United States, primarily by white families. Korean adoptees figure in twenty-five percent of US transnational adoptions and are the largest group of transracial adoptees currently in adulthood. Despite being legally adopted, Korean adoptees’ position as family members did not automatically ensure legal, cultural, or social citizenship. Korean adoptees routinely experience refusals of belonging, whether by state agents, laws, and regulations, in everyday interactions, or even through media portrayals that render them invisible. In Out of Place, SunAh M Laybourn, herself a Korean American adoptee, examines this long-term journey, with a particular focus on the race-making process and the contradictions inherent to the model minority myth.

Drawing on in-depth interviews with Korean adoptee adults, online surveys, and participant observation at Korean adoptee events across the US and in Korea, Out of Place illustrates how Korean adoptees come to understand their racial positions, reconcile competing expectations of citizenship and racial and ethnic group membership, and actively work to redefine belonging both individually and collectively. In considering when and how Korean adoptees have been remade, rejected, and celebrated as exceptional citizens, Out of Place brings to the fore the features of the race-making process.



Dr. SunAh Laybourn is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Memphis, an Affiliate Faculty Member for the Center for Workplace Diversity & Inclusion, an Affiliate Faculty Member in the International and Global Studies Department, a former Academic Research Fellow of the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change, and a former co-lead facilitator for the National Civil Rights Museum’s Unpacking Racism for Action program. She received her PhD in Sociology from the University of Maryland (2018). Her research examines racialization processes, racial and ethnic identity formation, and Asian America.  Dr. Laybourn is the co-author of Diversity in Black-Greek Letter Organizations: Breaking the Line (Routledge 2018). Her work has been published in Social Problems, Sociology of Race & Ethnicity, Ethnic & Racial Studies, and Asian Pacific American Law Journal, among others.

Her next book, Out of Place: The Lives of Korean Adoptee Immigrants (NYU Press, January 2024), examines kinship, citizenship, and belonging through the case of Korean transnational transracial adoptees and citizenship rights advocacy.
Outside of academia, Dr. Laybourn serves on the Korean American Adoptee Adoptive Family Network’s Conference Committee. She is the host of WYXR 91.7FM’s Let’s Grab Coffee, a weekly radio show featuring experts from across the country, who are investigating our most pressing social issues and common curiosities (also available on Apple and Spotify). Dr. Laybourn is the organizer of Memphis’s first month-long celebration honoring Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

The event is finished.


Jan 17 2024


6:00 pm


Free to attend. Book is $34.50.

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Novel Memphis
387 Perkins Extd.


Novel Memphis
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