Engaging ideas, transforming minds
Engaging ideas, transforming minds

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300 pages
6 x 9 inches
August 2005
Print ISBN: 9780889614543


In feminism, the institution of mothering/motherhood has been a highly contested area in how it relates to the oppression of women. As Adrienne Rich articulated in her classic 1976 book Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution, although motherhood as an institution is a male-defined site of oppression, women's own experiences of mothering can nonetheless be a source of power. This volume examines four locations wherin motherhood is simultaneously experienced as a site of oppression and of power: emodiment, representation, practice, and separation.

Motherhood: Power and Oppression includes psychological, historical, sociological, literary, and cultural approaches to inquiry and a wide range of disciplinary perspectives — qualitative, quantitative, corporeal, legal, religious, fictional, mythological, dramatic and action research.

This rich collection not only covers a wide range of subject matter but also illustrates ways of doing feminist research and practice.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
Andrea O'Reilly and Marie Porter

2. The Kindest Cut? The Caesarean Section as Turning Point, Australia 1880-1900
Lisa Featherstone
3. Narrating Breasts: Constructions of Contemporary Motherhood(s) in Women's Breastfeeding Stories
Susanne Gannon and Babbette Muller-Rockstroh
4. Scandalous Practices and Political Performances: Breastfeeding in the City
Alison Bartlett

5. "Pax Materna" or Mothers at War with the Empire? Canadian and Australian Perspectives on the Motherhood Debate in the British Empire during the Great War
Karin Ikas
6. Mothering and Stress Discourses: A Deconstruction of the Interrelationship of Discourses on Mothering and Stress
Erika Horwitz and Bonitaq C. Long
7. A Lesser Woman? Fictional Representations of the Childless Woman
Enza Gandolfo
8. (Mis)Conceptions: The Paradox of Maternal Power and Loss in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye and Paradise
Andrea O'Reilly
9. Human and Divine Mothers in Hinduism
Tamara Ditrich

10. Resistance Narratives from Mothers of Married Daughters in Singapore
Hing Ai Yun
11. Survival Narratives of Ethiopian-Jewish Mothers and Daughters in Israel
Ruby Newman
12. Down Under Power? Australian Mothering Experiences in the 1950s, 1960s
Marie Porter
13. Mothers at Home: Oppressed or Oppressors or Victims of False Dichotomies?
Elizabeth Reid Boyd
14. Mothers at the Margins: Singular Identities and Survival
Patricia Short

15. Naming Maternal Alienation
Anne Morris
16. Women of Courage: The Non-Custodial Mother
Julie Thacker
17. Abandoning Mothers and Their Children
Anita Pavlovic, Audrey Mullender, and Rosemary Aris
18. When Eve left the Garden: A Modern Tale about Mothers Who Leave Their Families
Petra Buskens
19. Conclusion: Reflections on Motherhood
Patricia Short

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