Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood

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Sheila Lintott (ed.)
Department of Philosophy
Bucknell University

Abstracts with titles are solicited for a new volume in the Wiley-Blackwell series Philosophy for Everyone, under the general series editorship of Fritz Allhoff. As with previous titles now subsumed under the series—Wine & Philosophy, Beer & Philosophy, Food & Philosophy, and Running & Philosophy—Motherhood & Philosophy will be an interdisciplinary collection meant to be accessible to an educated, but non-specialized, audience. Essays should avoid discipline-specific jargon and should inquire into issues of import to mothers and anyone interested in motherhood. The collection will explore the philosophical dimensions of motherhood, including (at least) feminist, existential, ethical, aesthetic, phenomenological, and social and political considerations of pregnancy, childbirth, and mothering by compiling the insights of academics and mothers from a broad range of disciplines and from outside the academy.

If you are interested in submitting work to this project, bear in mind that your essay should incorporate serious philosophical reflection on motherhood. This need not preclude your work from being lively, engaging, and even entertaining.

Guidelines for Contributions:

Abstract of paper (approx. 250 words) submission deadline: 15 December 2008
Acceptances will be issued by 1 February 2009
Submission deadline for completed papers will be 1 June 2009
Final papers should be approximately 4000-5000 words
Abstracts should be submitted by e-mail to

Please contact Sheila Lintott at the above email address if you have any questions about the book. Other proposals for series titles are also welcome; please direct those to Fritz Allhoff at

Suggested topics:

More topics related to motherhood are worthy of philosophical reflection than can be articulated here, but the following is a long list of suggestions that may prove fertile ground for inspiration.

On Pregnancy:
Phenomenology: What is it like to be pregnant?
Identity: Who am "I" when pregnant? Am I plural or singular?
Disability Studies: Examination of the intersections of pregnancy and disability, reflections on the increase in pregnancy discrimination complaints, reflections on birth defects and disorders
Ethics: What obligations does the pregnant woman have to the unborn child she carries? How do these obligations differ after birth? What about drug and alcohol use during pregnancy? Reflections on family and medical leave policies for academic and nonacademic moms.
Body Image: Can pregnancy liberate women from the tyranny of cultural norms of prescribed thinness?
Race/Ethnicity: How is the pregnant woman's body experienced and represented in racialized/racist ways?
Death: Reflections on loss during pregnancy, childbirth, or childhood

On Childbirth:

Birth Control: Has the medicalization of childbirth helped or harmed women?
A Face Only a Mother Could Love: Are newborn babies really beautiful?

Birth Stories: What is the narrative structure of birth stories? Why are birth stories important and yet seemingly inappropriate for public discourse?
Murphy Brown Feels Like a Natural Woman: The affect the portrayal of pregnancy and childbirth on television and in film on expectations and experiences of pregnancy and birth
Pleasure and Pain: Considerations of why women have more than one child (after having experienced the excruciating pain of childbirth first-hand)

On Mothering:

What's in a Name: What is a mother? A mom?
The Toughest Job You'll Ever Love: Should all moms love being moms?
Brooke vs. Tom: On the nature, proper treatment, and representation of postpartum depression
To Nurse or Not to Nurse: On social and cultural pressures to breastfeed, bottle-feed, or wean
Mommy Wars: Sarah Palin, Hilary Clinton, and the portrayal of moms in power
A Mother's Love: Can we rationally evaluate our children's strengths and weaknesses or are we necessarily biased (to exaggerate the good or even the bad)?
Gender Differences: On differences between mothering a daughter and mothering a son
Role-sharing: Can equity exist in parenting or co-parenting relationships?
Gender Roles: What are the differences between mothers and fathers?
Work/family Balance: The politics of professional moms "opting out," practicing philosophy and being a mom, being an academic and a mom
Parenting: Feminist moms, co-parenting, and non-traditional families
My Mother, Myself: What are the existential implications of the realization that I am, after all, becoming my mother?

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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