Making Mothering Studies Scholars Visible

Thursday Thought: I once heard someone in another field refer to mothering studies as “Jocelyn’s thing” as if I’d made it up in my basement. Mothering Studies has a several decades long intellectual history, including the work of Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, and many, many others.

So a special shoutout to the Museum of Motherhood in NY which is holding its annual conference right now: March 6-8. The theme this year: Making Motherhood Visible. The Museum is inducting three founding Mothering Studies scholars into its Motherhood Hall of Fame: Phyllis Chesler known her her longstanding feminist activism as well as work such as Mothers on Trial (1986), Barbara Katz Rothman whose book about race and adoption, Weaving a Family (2005), I’ve taught many times, and the one and only Andrea O’Reilly, founder of the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement. MIRCI has nurtured so many of us second generation mothering studies scholars, myself included.

Andrea-OReillyO’Reilly’s keynote address will discuss the lack of inclusion of maternal perspectives in women’s studies, during a time period where a variety of identity categories are accepted and seen as legitimate subjects of research.

From her interview with York University: “It also shows that my work as both a scholar of motherhood, and more specifically as founder-director of a research centre (Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement, formerly the Association for Research on Mothering) and press (Demeter Press) on motherhood, being so honourably recognized has proven the naysayers wrong – that motherhood does matter and that motherhood studies has indeed arrived, now with a museum of its own.”

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