Ph.D. Student Profiles

McCullough, Molly

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  • Research Interests: Critical Adoption Studies; Queer Theory; Diaspora and Migration; Death, Loss, Grief; 20th-21st Century Literature
  • Education: 2012, BA, Hampshire College, Critical Social Inquiry; 2006-2009, University of Victoria, Gender Studies (transferred)





Molly McCullough is a transnational orphan-adoptee from Kolkata. She studies the political economy of transnational/transracial adoption, focusing on quandaries of loss, collective identification, and uprising for orphan-adoptees in relation to other peripatetic figures of global displacement and neocolonial violence.

Eschewing intersectionality, she suggests that the visibility of “difference” in adoption denies the invisibility of adoption itself, which produces contradictory messages about membership, belonging, and inclusion. Contrary to contemporary adoption discourse, which presupposes that adoptees have lost (an origin, culture, mother, nation, etc.), she argues that most orphan-adoptees contend with absence, and are not homeward or homesick but homeless. Redirecting orphan-adoptees away from loss, she offers the possibility that they are neither melancholic nor nostalgic but hypochondriacal subjects who harbor a paranoia that something is awry, despite the pervasive ethos that adoptees are full members of society. Thus, she seeks to theorize hypochondria as a more precise aperture for examining orphan-adoptee liminality and the immanent death in life for those without homes.

Molly currently lives in Philadelphia with her dog and cat and is an avid long-distance runner. 


  • Rutgers School of Graduate Studies Dean’s Fellowship, 2020
  • Canadian Women’s Studies Association Undergraduate Essay Prize, 2008