David Fine, Ph.D.
This project is an examination of issues of childcare, gendered responsibilities, and family identity informed by feminist and queer theory. As the second oldest in a family of eight, I have always understood myself primarily as a big brother. Rooted in this experience, this project is an exploration of feminist care ethics as they pertain to existing family structures. I review and build upon feminist conversations surrounding the family, especially concerning motherhood. Then, working with more recent queer and trans discourse, I explore how different familial care practices have been limited, reconfigured, or erased under dominant cis-heteronormative notions of care. This complicates many of the mother-oriented feminist theories of care, while still accounting for the work that occurs within the family—however 'family' may be defined. Finally, I look at Virginia Woolf’s "To the Lighthouse" to recover and rethink representations of sibling care, especially as an alternative to the reproduction of gendered roles which often occurs between parent and child. This project sketches a theory of sibling care practices, articulating what they have meant to me and what they can mean for our current social demands. Ultimately, I seek to understand how sibling relationships can forge networks of care beyond the typical family hierarchies and how the public sibling subject stands as a new ethical position which may attend to specifically queer needs.
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Bryant, William, "Othering the Brother: Toward a Sibling-Oriented Ethics of Care" (2023). Honors Theses. 389.