CFP: Motherhood and Culture

Motherhood and Culture

International and Interdisciplinary Conference

15-17 June 2015

Iontas Building, Maynooth University, Co. Kildare, Ireland


Confirmed Key Note Speakers:

Professor Nancy Chodorow (UC Berkeley & Harvard, USA)

Professor Andrea O’Reilly (York, Canada)

Stories about motherhood have powerfully shaped critical and theoretical directions at least since the publication of Simone de Beauvoir’s intellectually powerful feminist work, The Second Sex in 1949, which devalued maternal labour, a tendency then critiqued by Sara Ruddick’s key work, Maternal Thinking: Towards a Politics of Peace (1989), which defined maternal thinking and practice as a discipline. Recently what has been termed the ‘maternal turn’ in critical theory examines how positioning and expressing motherhood in a range of contexts is critical for understanding changing cultures, populations and media. As Clifford Geertz has argued, culture is the ensemble of stories we tell ourselves about ourselves; culture is not only a reflection of our values, our beliefs and our practices, it also influences and shapes those values, beliefs and practices. This conference seeks then to analyse the cultural meaning of motherhood in the contemporary era through exploring the stories we tell ourselves about mothers, mothering and motherhood through history, across diverse media and from various cultural, national, racial, class and gendered perspectives.

 Revaluing the maternal, socio-cultural diversity, and identity politics of mothers, mothering, motherhood frame this exciting international and interdisciplinary conference.  We encourage researchers from a wide range of disciplines and cultural perspectives to submit proposals for papers that speak to mothers, mothering and motherhood in relationship to the following (and related) topics:

 Identity, Diversity, Values, Feminism(s), Queerness, Transgression, Disability, Migration, History, Embodiment, Race, Class, Politics, Neoliberalism, Religion, Philosophy, Spirituality, Sexuality, Nationalism and/or Transnationalism, Psychoanalysis, Art, Music, Literature, Media, Popular Culture, Digital Culture, Language, Theory, Demography and also Non-motherhood, Delaying Motherhood, Refusal of Motherhood

 To mark Bloomsday on 16 June, there will be a series of themed panels on the topic of ‘Joyce and Motherhood’. Proposals for this series might also cover related topics such as ‘Mother Ireland’, ‘Motherhood and Dublin’, etc.

Please submit proposals for papers (300 words and 3 keywords) along with a 50-word biographical note to the conference organisers at by 15 February 2015. Proposers should indicate if they would like their abstracts to be considered for the Bloomsday panels. Please note that submission of a proposal does not guarantee its acceptance. Proposers will be informed by 1 March whether their proposal has been accepted.

This conference is generously supported by the Irish Research Council and the Maynooth University Conference and Workshop Fund.


Conference Registration

Registration for the conference will open on 15 February 2015.

There will be an early-bird fee for the full conference of €150 (€75 with a valid student ID) for all registrations received before 30 April 2015; thereafter, the full conference fee will be €200 (€75 with a valid student ID).

Postgraduate Bursaries

A limited number of bursaries will be made available to postgraduate students as a contribution towards the costs of travel and accommodation. These will carry a value of €75 for students registered at institutions in Ireland and Northern Ireland and €200 for students registered at institutions outside of Ireland. Postgraduate students who are interested in applying for these scholarships should send a 300-word personal statement explaining the relevance of the conference topic for their research to the conference organisers at by 15 February 2015. Please note that postgraduate students who are invited to speak at the conference will be given priority in the allocation of bursaries.

Childcare Facilities

The conference organisers are please to confirm that the Maynooth University crèche will be able to offer childcare facilities on campus throughout the conference. In order to ensure that they can cater to the needs of participants and their children, the crèche require all parents/guardians who are interested in availing of this service to fill out and submit an online Expression of Interest form before 31 January 2015 at Please note that there will be a small charge for this service.

This entry was posted in cfp and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.