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Smash the Family!

Questions to ponder whilst you read…

  • Why did feminists attack the institutions of marriage and the family?
  • Do you think their critique was valid?
  • What alternatives did they put forward?
  • What does a Black feminist perspective bring to these debates?

 

Core Reading

For an overview of current scholarship on motherhood see Sarah Knott, 'Theorising and historicising mothering's many labours', Past and Present, 246 (2020): https://0-doi-org.pugwash.lib.warwick.ac.uk/10.1093/pastj/gtaa032

L. Segal (ed.), What is to be Done About the Family (1983), pp.9-64 [some of this is digitised]

OR

J. Mitchell, Women’s Estate (1971) [chapter 8]

AND

H. Carby, ‘White Women Listen!’, in H. Safia Mirza (ed.), Black British Feminism: A Reader. Also in L. Back & J. Solomos (eds.), Theories of Race and Racism: A Reader (2000) [digitised]

Further Reading

S. Firestone, The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution (1971) [chapter 4 ‘Down with Childhood’. Published in the US but very influential in the UK] digitised

M. Barrett, Women’s Oppression Today (1980) [chapter 6 ‘Women’s Oppression and “The Family”’]

 

Williams, H. Twort, A. Bachelli, ‘Women and the Family’, in M. Wandor (ed.), The Body Politic: Women’s Liberation in Britain 1969-1972 (1972), 31-36

Michaela Nava, ‘The Family: A Critique of Certain Features’, in M. Wandor (ed.), The Body Politic: Women’s Liberation in Britain 1969-1972 (1972), 36-44

Crockford & Nan Fromer, ‘When is a House Not a Home?’, in M. Wandor (ed.), The Body Politic: Women’s Liberation in Britain 1969-1972 (1972), 121-123

Rochelle P. Wortis, ‘Childrearing and Women’s Liberation’, in M. Wandor (ed.), The Body Politic: Women’s Liberation in Britain 1969-1972 (1972), 124-145

The Northern Women’s Education Study Group, ‘Sex-Role Learning: A Study of Infant Readers’, in M. Wandor (ed.), The Body Politic: Women’s Liberation in Britain 1969-1972 (1972), 146-149

S. Rowbotham, ‘Whose Holding the Baby?’, in S. Rowbotham, Dreams and Dilemmas (1983), 125-128

Ann Oakley, ‘Feminism, Motherhood and Medicine – Who Cares?’, in J. Mitchell & A. Oakley, What is Feminism? (1986), 127-150

Stacey, ‘Are Feminists Afraid to Leave Home? The Challenge of Conservative Pro-Family Feminism’, in J. Mitchell & A. Oakley, What is Feminism? (1986), 219-248

Ross, ‘New Thoughts on the “Oldest Vocation”: Mothers and Motherhood in Recent Feminist Scholarship’, Signs 20:2 (Winter 1995), 397-413

Rowbotham, The Past is Before Us: Feminism in Action Since the 1960s (1989) [Part 1 ‘The Family and House work’]

Coote & B. Campbell, Sweet Freedom: The Struggle for Women’s Liberation (1982) [chapter 3 ‘Family’]

L. Segal, Making Trouble: Life and Politics (2007) [chapter 3]

S. Dowrick & S. Grundberg, Why Children? (1980)