CFP: [General] Challenging the Maternal Notion (9/1/08; edited collection)

full name / name of organization: 
Alina M. Luna
contact email: 

Challenging the Maternal Notion: Essays on an (Un)traditional Instinct

Editor: Alina M. Luna, Ph.D. (Western State College of Colorado)

Submissions are sought for an edited collection of essays that challenge
traditional ideas of maternal instinct and motherhood. Interdisciplinary
in nature, the collection seeks to offer a range of views that question
or offer alternative explanations concerning aspects of the maternal that
have traditionally been accepted as true. In doing so, this project will
create a space for inquiry and analysis into what has been considered a
sacred figure, yet one that has become increasingly lethal in our
contemporary culture. The concept for this edited collection has garnered
the interest of two academic presses.

Within the 20th and 21st centuries, academic essays and research studies
such as those produced within the social and natural sciences (in
anthropology, Sarah Blaffer Hrdy; in psychiatry, Dominique Bourget and
Pierre Gagné; and in genetics, David Haig) have attempted to question the
nature of maternal instinct, but controversy has followed. Writers and
directors of film and fiction, often vehicles for the ideologies of
popular culture, have depicted such mothers within the realms of horror
and suspense (Alfred Hitchcock, Stephen King and David Cronenberg) or
camp (John Waters). Musicians have also written and performed songs that
depict mothers in bleak and questionable terms (Chrissie Hynde, The
Police, Genesis). Within the medical and legal fields, one must ask if
motherhood and maternal instinct are being redefined by advancements in
reproductive endocrinology (assisted hatching, egg donation,
preimplantation genetic diagnosis) and problematized by prosecutorial
arguments in a growing number of filicide trials (those of Andrea Yates,
Deanna Laney, Dena Schlosser).

Essays that comment upon, conduct research, or incorporate unconventional
images or ideas about motherhood are welcome. Examinations of such ideas
for their broader implications within specific disciplines or fields of
expertise, and upon the characterizations of maternal instinct taken to
be “true,” are encouraged; as are alternative explanations as to why the
public seems reluctant to acknowledge destructive/negative tendencies of
maternal instinct. Because the breadth and scope of this project rely
heavily upon the contributors, topics may include (but are certainly not
limited to):
* cross-cultural analyses of the maternal figure
* studies of prenatal competition and other genetic conflicts that may
challenge maternal instinct
* representations of the mother/maternal body in film, literature or art
* scientific and/or cultural perspectives on violent mothers
* critical analyses of public reaction to negative depictions of
mothers/maternal figures
* law and the lethal mother from different cultural perspectives; or the
challenges of prosecuting or defending a violent mother
* religious or philosophical treatments of the maternal
* postpartum depression/psychosis
* practical function(s) of the mother and its sentimentalization
* reproductive advancements in medicine and its effect upon definitions
of the maternal
* sociological or psychological trends that are re-shaping the role of
the mother
* marketing to the mother in a consumer culture
* problematizing the “stage mother,” the “soccer mom,” the “yummy mummy,”
and the “M.I.L.F.”
* defining a system of (maternal) ethics (i.e., whether or not it’s
easier to absolve a mother of a mercy-killing or violent act done
for “the good” of another.)

Ideally, many disciplines and perspectives would be represented, thus,
submissions from those outside of the academy are also encouraged.

Those who would like to submit creative texts (poetry, fiction, lyrics,
and/or personal reflections by writers engaged in alternative or
provocative representations of the mother, the maternal body or instinct)
should do so. A section of the collection may be devoted to them.

Interested contributors should submit a 500 word abstract/proposal along
with a brief bio or vita (as attached MSWord documents or Rich Text
Files) to me at by September 1, 2008. Receipt will be
acknowledged via e-mail. (Given an overzealous network spam filter, I
ask that “maternal notion” be included in the subject line). Inquiries
may also be directed to this email. Acceptances made in October 2008.
Final critical essays of approximately 15-20 pages (double-spaced,
Chicago style unless otherwise noted) and creative texts of 2,500 words
or less will be due April 1, 2009.

Alina M. Luna, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of English
Dept. of Communication Arts, Languages and Literature
Western State College of Colorado

Please note: Authors submitting essays or creative texts are asked not to
simultaneously submit them to other journals or collections. Submitted
material should not have been published elsewhere in substantially
similar form or with substantially similar content.

 From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List
             more information at
Received on Sat Jun 21 2008 - 16:14:37 EDT