In this event we will grapple with past and present experiences of mothering. How can we tell a story of maternal labour in the past, in the absence of data? What does it mean to study mothering today, in the context of intensified neoliberalism? How does mothering enter the radar of policymakers? And what is the relationship between these questions and how we study them in contemporary academia?
Mothering experiences were almost entirely absent from public discourse in Britain and North America until around the 1970s, when the Women’s Liberation Movement directed long-overdue attention to mothering and maternal labour. Today, on the other hand, mothering is impossible to miss. Motherhood, mothering and mothers are the objects considerable attention: in memoirs, advice and self-help guides; in magazines, popular television and film; across a range of online platforms, and in policy debates about work-life balance, parenting and gender equality in the workplace.
Historian Sarah Knott, sociologist Shani Orgad and Gender and Family Studies expert Wendy Sigle will discuss these topics, drawing on their rich work on mothering and reflecting on their different approaches to studying it.