Call for Papers: “Mothering’s many labours”

by the Editorial Team

Papers are sought for a workshop in June 2018 which will lead to a field-defining essay collection on the history of mothering. This project builds on feminist approaches to mothering as an embodied and material practice. It seeks to highlight the practicalities of care, the exchange of affect, and the nature of care relations, as much as questions of ideology or identity. Dispersed or delegated mothering (by siblings and grandmothers, or by wet nurses, domestic servants, or enslaved women, for example) is placed at the centre rather than at the margins of analysis. 

The organisers seek papers with a wide range of chronological and geographical coverage. Our aim is to pluralise and specify mothering and care-giving in and beyond the ‘mother-baby dyad’. Topics might include:

*Labour relations and care chains
*Delegated mothering
*Surrogacy, fostering and adoption
*‘Othermothering’ and alloparenting
*Emotion work/love labouring
*Body work
*Carrying, birthing, lactating, providing
*Material culture and maternal objects.

Please submit paper proposals of 800-1,000 words and a 1-2pp CV as a Word document to either or by 17th January 2017. Notification of accepted proposals will be by 30th May 2017.

A workshop for the intensive discussion of pre-circulated papers will be held in the United Kingdom in June 2018. The workshop will focus on developing culturalist and materialist approaches and histories of mothering with a view to publishing a Past & Present supplement.

‘Mothering’s Many Labours’ is organized by Prof Sarah Knott (Indiana University) and Prof Alexandra Shepard (University of Glasgow), and sponsored by the Past & Present Society. Availability of travel and accommodation bursaries for the workshop will be confirmed at a later date.

Mothering’s many Labours, deadline for abstracts 17th January 2017


Image copyright: Past&Present

Past & Present is pleased to support this event and others like it. We welcome funding applications from historians of all fields and time periods at any stage in their career. More information can be found here.

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