I emailed Repronetwork, and asked some questions. I am trying to completely wrap my mind around exactly what Motherhood Studies might constitute. Got some great responses and some new ideas, as well as one syllabus that helps frame things from another person’s perspective: REPRONETWORK@newlists.sscnet.ucla.edu
Hi Repro Network –
I am in need of help.
I’ve been teaching “Mother Studies” at the Museum of Motherhood since 2011. When I teach it to undergrads, and grad students as a lab, I divide Motherhood up into chapters that cover a bit about the biology of motherhood, and then move on to: sociology, economics, history, art/culture, feminist/activist, adoption, surrogacy, etc. using books like Sara Hrdy; Mother Nature, Barbara Katz Rothman; Weaving a Family, Amber Kinser; Feminism and Motherhood, Andrea O’Reilly; Maternal Theory and so forth.
Now I’m back in grad school writing my thesis, which argues Mother Studies (Mothering Studies, Maternal Studies, Mother Studies) is an emerging field that it needs to be legitimized in the academy as a degreed program of study.
One of my advisors has challenged me to create an American Journal of Mother Studies. This is her challenge:
You are the one who thinks there is or should be a field of ‘mother studies.’ Just find me this work that you think is ‘mother studies’ —
you don’t mean just has the word ‘mother’ in the title.YOU are the one saying there is this field and:a) it’s not the study of the familyb) it’s not women’s studiesc) it’s not midwiferyd) it’s not child psyche) it’s not obstetrics
Show where the work that IS representing ‘motherhood studies’ is being published.
I welcome any and all thoughts on this. If you were submitting to an American Journal of Motherhood Studies, what would you imagine this as? Share your ideas. Please!
In Gratitude and Collaboration,
“If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word. A word after a word after a word is power.” ~Margaret Atwood
Martha Joy Rose (Please call me JOY)
Founder, Director: Museum of Motherhood
President; MaMaPaLooZa Inc.
Electric Mommyland 2014 Semester Project, GC, CUNY
I believe in a more peaceful, more educated, more musical planet
I see it as the kind of studies that would inspire paid maternity leave.
It would be a field focusing on the way that women view motherhood, their journey of becoming mothers, how motherhood is viewed by society and women specifically, the norms and laws and policies that focus on motherhood and the lives of mothers around the world.
This is different from women’s studies because not all women are mothers and more and more women are opting out of that role.
This is different from family studies because it is not about siblings or partners or about family policy, which is different from policy specific to mothers.
It is definitely much more than pregnancy and birth which would be the focus of midwifery and obgyn.
And of course child anything is focused on the child. And if you can focus on the child, then we can focus on mothers. There is also a growing field of fatherhood which is different from men’s studies.
Hope this is helpful.
I think that putting together a bibliography that reflects a motherhood focus because having a body of literature would reflect a focused area of study.
Ruth C. White, PhD, MPH, MSW
Clinical Associate Professor
School of Social Work
University of Southern California
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