Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
A Special Issue of Women’s Studies Quarterly

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Call for Papers: MOTHER
Guest Editors: Nicole Cooley and Pamela Stone

We have entered a motherhood moment--from celebrity mom baby-bump sightings to recent televised debates between “stay at home moms” and “working moms,” from “welfare mothers” to “Alpha moms,” images of motherhood are circulating in our culture as never before.

Motherhood demands a new look. As women push motherhood later and later, as a larger share forego it entirely, and as mothering itself takes up a smaller fraction of women’s lives, why is the fascination with all things “mother” at an all-time high? What does it mean to be a mother when motherhood is increasingly decoupled from biology? At a time when women’s reproductive rights are vulnerable and the pro-choice movement on the defensive, why is so much of the discussion about mothering framed in the rhetoric of choice and agency? As the majority of mothers pursue both family and paid employment, the “cultural contradictions” of intensive mothering that sociologist Sharon Hays first identified over a decade ago do indeed seem, to paraphrase writer/journalist Judith Warner, an ever more “[im]perfect madness.”

This WSQ special issue invites feminist work that speaks to our current historical moment in an effort to try to begin to construct a comprehensive and critical overview of mothers, mothering, and motherhood. We welcome academic papers from a variety of perspectives in all disciplines, from theory, qualitative research, and empirical studies to literary studies. We would also be interested in memoir and first-person essays, fiction, poetry, art, and writing which blurs boundaries and crosses genres in its exploration of mothering.

Topics to be explored include:

· Discourses around motherhood and how they are shaped by race, ethnicity, immigrant status and sexuality

· Mothers in the workplace: The price of motherhood, “mommy tracking” and “maternal wall,” “opting out”

· The “mommy wars”: Stay-at-home moms vs. working moms

· The paid and unpaid work of mothering and caregiving; the “second shift”

· Motherhood, loss and grief: Infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth and infant and child death

· Motherhood and disability/special needs

· Intensive mothering: Ideologies and practices around co-sleeping, breastfeeding, homeschooling and unschooling, toilet-training, tutoring

· Mothers as consumers: The marketing of motherhood

· Pregnancy: The medicalization of and birthing practices, representations of the mother’s body, assisted reproductive technologies (ART), surrogacy, abortion and reproductive choice

· New models of motherhood: LGBT moms, young moms, single mothers, stepmothers and blended families

· Men as moms: Stay-at-home dads, coparenting, single fathers

· Immigration and motherhood; global labor chains

· Childcare and domestic labor: Practices, issues and politics

· Motherhood and ecofeminism, explorations of “mother nature”

· Mommy lit as its own brand of chick-lit and the new “dad” books

· Mothers and digital media: The role of mommy blogs, list-servs, message boards and social networking sites

· Adoption: Transnational and domestic, transracial

· Motherhood and public policy: From debates about FMLA to activist groups such as MomsRising

· Mothering older children, mothering adult children, grandmothering

· Motherhood and Third Wave Feminism

· The experiences of women who choose not to mother

· Mothering in comparative, global and transnational contexts

If submitting academic work, please send abstracts by September 30, 2008 to the guest editors Pamela Stone and Nicole Cooley at: WSQMotherIssue@gmail.com. If accepted:
Full papers should be no longer than 22 pages, and will be due by January 1, 2009.

Poetry submissions should be sent to WSQ's poetry editor Kathleen Ossip, at ossipk@aol.com, by January 1, 2009.

Fiction, essay, and memoir submissions should be sent to WSQ's fiction/nonfiction editor, Susan Daitch, at sdaitch@hunter.cuny.edu by January 1, 2009.

Art submissions should be sent to WSQMotherIssue@gmail.com by January 1, 2009. Please keep in mind that after art is reviewed and accepted, accepted art must be sent to the journal’s managing editor on a CD that includes all artwork of 300 DPI or greater, saved as 4.25 inches wide or larger. These files should be saved as individual JPEGS or TIFFS


Amy Stockwell Mercer is a freelance writer living in Charleston, SC with her husband and three sons. An MFA graduate in Creative Writing from Queens University, she writes about art and artist profiles for Charleston Magazine, The City Paper, Charleston Art Mag, and Art Papers. Amy also writes about living with chronic illness, and is finishing a book about women with diabetes for Demos Health. When she needs to get out of her own head, she teaches college students how to write the 5 paragraph essay. You can read more of her writing at her website.


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