CFP: [American] Unmothers/Mothering in American Women's Writing: SSAWW 2009 Conference

full name / name of organization: 
Dr. Maglina Lubovich
contact email: 

Feminist theory and literary criticism has had much to say about the role
of motherhood in American literature, from theories of “republican
motherhood” to early domestic manuals like Lydia Maria Child’s The
Mother’s Book, from the maternal (and/or the absent mother) in women’s
sentimental fiction to the slave narrative, from the connection between
motherhood and creativity to the mother’s psychic power in psychoanalytic

What has been left out of our criticism is the role that un-mothers (and
mothering) have played in American communities, families, and individual
lives. This panel then is interested in critical treatments of women
without children in literature from any period and genre of American
literature (including poetry, drama, fiction, and/or memoir). Whether by
choice or circumstance, how have such women been portrayed? How have they
represented themselves without the supposed marker of “true” femininity
and womanhood? How are such categories altered by race, sexuality, class?
Where are the scenes of un-mothering in American literature? Why have we
been silent on and hesitant to theorize such women? How have women
writers negotiated the place of the un-mother?

Please send a 500 word abstract and one-page CV to Maglina Lubovich at , by December 1, 2008. Panelists must be (or become)
members of the SSAWW; the conference will be held October 21-24, 2009 in

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Received on Mon Nov 03 2008 - 11:12:13 EST