The Encyclopedia of Motherhood begins its brief entry on “Motherhood Studies” by asserting that the subject of motherhood has emerged within the academy in the last thirty years as a significant topic of scholarly inquiry. It goes on to say that “Motherhood Studies has developed into three interconnected categories of inquiry: motherhood as institution, motherhood as experience, and motherhood as identity or subjectivity” (vol. 2, 831). In the case of Motherhood Studies, the study has been constructed around the word: motherhood. But, we have three words available to us: mother, mothering, and motherhood. Each word connotes something different. However, for the purposes of this thesis and for any scholar who wishes to study mothers, mothering, or motherhood in the academy, more development of this idea would be beneficial. In this chapter I explore the use of the words: mother, mothering, and motherhood. I wrestle with a theory of m/otherness or mother-ness and construct a working definition of what Mother Studies is, as well as track the history of its evolution. This evolutionary tale accounts for my own position within its trajectory. I also describe some of the challenges Mother Studies has faced in terms of earning legitimacy within the academy.

Read Chapter 2 “Theory” 

Read Full Thesis Text  

Listen To Audio 


Audio recorded at the Graduate Center in April 2015 as Martha Joy Rose and Marisa discuss mother-ness.

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