Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
CALL FOR PAPERS: Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement (MIRCI)

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International Conference on Motherhood Activism, Advocacy, Agency
May 13-15, 2011, Toronto, ON, Canada


Grounded in a long history, in which women activists, writers, and feminists focused much effort on strengthening the social, personal, and political power of mothers, current motherhood research and activism makes maternal empowerment one of the major goals of its work. Contemporary examinations and deployments of women's power as mothers-and mothers' power as women-seek to grant women greater authority, resources, and status so that they can adequately care for their children while living full and purposeful lives. The aim of this conference is to explore activism, advocacy, and agency by and on behalf of mothers from a variety of perspectives and in a multitude of contexts. These include (but are not limited to): the motherhood movement, community activism and engagement, politics, law, public policy, education, mental and physical health, maternal practice, family, workplace, personal identity, cultural expression, arts, the media and popular culture. We are particularly interested in presenters whose work examines ways in which issues of race, class, nationality, sexuality, age, religion, or ethnicity affect (positively or negatively) the ability of mothers to advocate for and/or achieve authority, agency, respect, and empowerment.

Topics include but not limited to:
the relationship between maternal agency and institutional constraints; personal agency; social agency; intersectionality and maternal agency; maternal agency and social justice; empowerment and family-life responsibilities; maternal agency and legal norms/practices; public policy and the public/private split; neoliberalism and public policy for mothers; healthism and maternal agency; navigating cultural expressions of "good" and "bad" mothering; second and third shift responsibility and agency; online advocacy and empowered mothering; maternal advocacy as theorized or practiced by women of a particular race, class, religion, or culture; empowered caregiving versus non-empowered caregiving; workplace norms and maternal advocacy or agency; motherhood and politics; "having it all" and maternal empowerment; challenging the maternal wall; challenging the "price of motherhood"; pregnancy and maternal agency; empowered mothering and disability; co-parenting and maternal empowerment; social change potential of memoir, narrative, autobiography, or blogging; maternal empowerment through artistic expression, film, music, literature, pop culture, or other arts; maternal agency through 'experts' or resistance to them; maternal empowerment by being resistant to or rooted in traditions, histories, or generational knowledges; navigating multiple identities as a mother; motherhood movements; advocacy for new family forms and relations; feminist mothering; queer and/or transgendered mothering; gender equity in home and work place; redefining fathering; othermothering; activism by young and/or low-income mothers; maternal activists' allies.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:
Deborah Byrd, Lafayette College, co-editor of Teaching Against the Isms: Feminist Pedagogy Across the Disciplines
Robbie Davis-Floyd, University of Texas, Austin, author of Birth as an American Rite of Passage, co-editor, Birth Models that Work
Ariel Gore, founding editor of Hip Mama, author of Whatever, Mom: Hip Mama's Guide to Raising a Teenager
Pat Gowens, founder of Welfare Warriors, editor of Mother Warriors Voice.
Amber Kinser, East Tennessee State University, author of Motherhood and Feminism, editor of Mothering in the Third Wave
D. Lynn O'Brien Hallstein, Boston University, author of White Feminists and Contemporary Maternity: Purging Matrophobia and co-editor with Sara Hayden, Contemplating Maternity in an Era of Choices: Explorations Into Discourses of Reproduction.
Andrea O'Reilly, York University, author of Rocking the Cradle: Thoughts on Motherhood, Feminism and the Possibility of Empowered Mothering and editor of 21st Century Motherhood: Experience, Identity, Policy, Agency
*Other keynotes: TBC

Please send 250 word abstract and 50 word bio to by October 15, 2010

One must a 2011 member of MIRCI to present at this conference.
Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement (MIRCI)
140 Holland St. West, PO Box 13022
Bradford, ON, L3Z 2Y5 (tel) 905-775-5215

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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