This has been a year of personal and professional transition. After completing a Masters of Liberal Studies focused on Mother Studies in 2015, the Journal of Mother Studies launched in 2016 as part of my thesis project. Once year later, the transition from adjunct professor in the Sociology Department of Manhattan College to St. Petersburg, Florida transpired. It is from this location that the ongoing work of the Museum of Motherhood continues.
While in graduate school, Dr. Barbara Katz Rothman, thesis advisor and mentor, advised me to focus on an academic journal about Mother Studies as a graduate project, rather than promoting a more general agenda of teaching MS within institutions of higher learning. Her point was that as a non-career academic, I would not have success implementing programs into CUNY institutions. I took her advice.
Last year, Kandee Kosior and Rosalind Howell did an amazing job at not only editing this journal but also in helping to set up some of the submission guidelines and author contracts. I am personally grateful and the journal would not have seen its first year through without them. Then, after publishing the first edition of the journal in September, MOM continued to host events from the new location.
During the winter of 2017, we held our first “I ❤ MOM Conference” at the exhibition space in St. Petersburg. Because of size limitations we could only host twenty presenters. This variation of the Annual Academic MOM Conference, which has been going in New York City since 2005, meant a dramatic reduction in attendees, again because the exhibition interior is only 600 square feet. This also meant a much smaller journal. The 2016 submissions came out of our New York Conference at Manhattan College where fifty plus academics attended and presented. This year’s included one third of that.
We live in a culture where more is superior to less, where bigger is better than smaller, and where statistics count. By these standards, the Museum of Motherhood and its accompanying projects are moving in a zig-zag. However, the game of numbers within the field of Mother Studies is a funny thing. We are small but mighty. We do our work because it is important, not necessarily because it is mainstream (yet). It is my belief that each life touched in meaningful ways, has impact and import.
This Journal of Mother Studies is primarily an experiment in Digital Humanities with the goal of promoting accessibility for individuals interested in learning about Mother Studies outside as well as inside academia. While organizing a panel in London over the summer, a quick internet search easily yielded presenters from the 2016 conference which I was then able to parlay into a conference panel for the ProCreate event at the Royal College of the Arts. This is exactly what a DH project should be able to do: provide content that is free, easy to access, and open-sourced.
I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this year’s journal with a special shout out to its editors: Marilyn Preston, Joy Baum, Amanda Hickman, Chand Somaiah, Angela Castaneda, and Karin Bolender aka K-Haw Hart. One book review is still forthcoming; Interrogating Motherhood (Athabasca University Press, 2017) by Lynda Ross.
Finally, in conclusion, JourMS as well as the Museum of Motherhood, aim to stand squarely at the intersection of the everyday and the academic with the goal of promoting easy access to information that benefits those interested in motherhood, fatherhood, and Mother Studies. I invite everyone to see our latest CFP, Teaching Mother Studies in the Academy and Beyond, for the 2018 Florida Conference in partnership with Department of Women’s & Gender Studies University of South Florida, as well as other new and exciting developments within the field of Mother Studies. We will re-launch online MS courses in the upcoming year and I look forward to making more announcements on that soon. In the meantime, please interact with these documents posted online. Conversation, interaction, and feedback are the essence of the DH medium.