CFP: Non-traditional Motherhood in 19th C. Britain (3/31/04; collection)

full name / name of organization: 
Claudia Klaver
contact email: 

Call for submissions

Other Mothers: Beyond the Maternal Ideal

                  We invite submissions for an interdisciplinary collection
of essays on non-traditional representations or enactments of motherhood in
nineteenth-century BritiainBritain. As decades of scholarship have
asserted, Victorian ideology was dominated by the idealized image of a
bourgeiousbourgeois domestic mother, a sexless, selfless woman whose only
power was moral suasion and the superintending of her children's spiritual,
intellectual, social, and physiological development. In this last function,
the good mother of Victorian domestic ideology also became a powerful
justificatory symbol of Britain's social and political authority in the
course of its industrial and imperial expansion. Britain's poor, its
working classes, the Irish, and its overseas colonies were all, at times,
constructed as unruly children.

This dominant and idealized representation of Victorian motherhood was not,
however, uncomplicated or uncontested. One the one hand, t While these
were the dominant representations of Victorian motherhood, however, they
were by no mean the only ones. The very ideological force of thisese
images also created a wake of anxieties about the failure of real women
embody this role. Thus the popular press and contemporary fiction were
also populated by images of unwed mothers killing their infants and
bourgeois mothers ignoring their maternal duties in pursuit of "society"
and fashion. On the other hand, concerns , as well as about some of the
darker implications of the role itself also emerged, such as the
possibility of powerful wives infantilizing their husbands. Moreover, the
very power of idealized maternalthese representations made them attractive
as metaphorical material that could be loosened from their intended
referents and deployed for other ends.

             This volume will collect interdisciplinary essays that explore
these alternative representations and enactments of Victorian
motherhood. We see this collection as contributing to a growing body of
work that explores divergent forms of maternity. We invite submissions
that explore the experiences of specific mothers or groups of mothers in
Victorian Britain, including working-class mothers, emigrant mothers,
single mothers, fallen mothers, surrogate mothers, abusive mothers, and
mothers living in BritainsBritain's colonies. We also invite submissions
that explore literary and non-literary representations, in both texts and
images, of these groups of mothers, as well as representations of
middle-class mothers who also fail to conform to the maternal ideal. In
addition, we invite essays that examine the deployment of the rhetoric and
symbols of maternity in unusual sites or for unusual ends in both the
private and public spheres. We welcome submissions from English, history,
art history, anthropology, law, family studies, and other relevant disciplines.


Please send 1000-1500 word abstracts to

                 Professor Claudia Klaver or Professor Ellen Rosenman

                 Department of English Department of English

                 401 Hall of Languages 1203 Patterson Office Tower

                 Syracuse University University of Kentucky

                 Syracuse, NY 13244 Lexington, KY 40506


Deadline: March 31, 2004

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Received on Fri Feb 20 2004 - 00:17:22 EST