Cultural Consequences of Unmotherhood

full name / name of organization: 
Nicole Herrera/ University of Akron
contact email: 

Cultural Consequences of Unmotherhood

Scholars in the fields of Anthropology, Biology, Cultural Studies, Economics, English, Gender Studies, History, Medicine, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Women's Studies, and others are engaged in attempting to understand the construction and consequences of motherhood. A woman's physiological ability to conceive, carry, and birth children, the assumption that the ability to raise children is a natural physiological trait, the ideological pressures to do so, the unique duties and responsibilities of motherhood, and subsequent rewards and penalties are just a few of the areas of inquiry found in literature.

What is perhaps less common, but equally as important, is scholarly inquiry into what some have called unmotherhood: the inability or choice to forego the conception and birth of children. In what many believe is undoubtedly a pro-natalist culture, the advancement of inquiries into issues surrounding unmotherhood, the illumination of the status of women-without-children, and the analysis of the material, cultural, and psychological consequences in the lives of these women (as individuals and within groups) becomes increasingly principal to women's studies and feminists scholars of every discipline.

This edited edition invites a variety of scholarly styles, methods, approaches, and foci on the topic. The inclusion of personal narratives integrated with or standing apart from scholarly work is highly encouraged as well. Scholars of every discipline are encouraged to submit abstracts, by May 30, 2009, for inclusion in a volume that may include, among others:

1.The emotional consequences of unmotherhood.
2.The cultural consequences of unmotherhood.
3.The relative economic status of women without children as a group.
4.The burgeoning fertility industry in developed nations.
5.The role of media representation of motherhood/unmotherhood in contemporary natalism.
6.How legislative efforts affect/are affected by natalism.
7.The ways in which class intersects with motherhood and unmotherhood.
8.The ways in which sexuality intersects with motherhood and unmotherhood.
9.The impact of cultural tradition and assumptions on decisions concerning motherhood/unmotherhood.
10.The rhetoric of fertility, pregnancy, and motherhood in literature.
11.The medical/physical consequences of motherhood/unmotherhood.

Please send a CV and abstract of no more than 500 words, via ground post or email to:

Nicole Herrera
Department of English
Olin Hall
University of Akron
Akron, OH 44325-1906