Radical Mothering in Europe: Everyday Forms of Resistance
University of Warwick, United Kingdom, 26 April 2024
European nation-building and colonial expansion has always relied on the regulation of reproductive labour and the hierarchical categorisation of bodies and forms of family-making. The stigmatisation of mothers was and remains a central strategy to govern minoritised groups under the modern European ideological framework. Yet, the research agendas that seek to address this (e.g. SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective 1997; Gumbs et al. 2016; Ross and Solinger 2017) are disproportionately focused on North America and to a lesser extent the Global South. There is a dire need for research spaces interrogating the European roots of antinatalist policies and giving visibility to minority mothers’ everyday forms of resistance in the region.
The Radical Mothering Research Collective is one attempt to redress this imbalance. The Collective:
- draws inspiration from scholarship that focuses on mothering (diverse and fluctuating everyday praxis, performed by a diversity of people regardless of reproductive role or gender identity) rather than motherhood (an oppressive, cisheteropatriarchal institution);
- defines as ‘radical’ those everyday acts of mothering which occur in unexpected sites (on the streets, across borders, in and around carceral facilities), take unexpected forms (queer, community, non-biological), or defy antinatalist policies in their very existence;
- rejects an individualist and neoliberal framework for understanding and undermining colonial logics.
To launch the Collective, we are organising a conference on “Radical Mothering in Europe” held at the University of Warwick on 26th April 2024.
We welcome academic, creative and/or activist contributions, rooted in critiques of European modernity, on topics such as (but not limited to):
- Anti-racist mothering
- Queer mothering
- Neurodivergent mothering / disability justice
- Pregnancy, childbirth, chest/breastfeeding and other embodied experiences of mothering
- Collective, community and othermothering
- Feminist and activist mothering
- Mothering and environmental justice
- Mothering and police / prison abolitionism
- Mothering in the margins of legality
- Transnational mothering
- Mothering against far-right groups
- Mothering in separation and adoption processes
- Mothering and assisted reproductive technologies
- Mothering and eugenics
We will invite selected papers to contribute to an edited volume after the conference.
If you are interested in contributing, please send to radicalmothering at warwick dot ac dot uk by 15 December 2023:
- A 150-word biography
- A 300-word abstract
- Whether your participation will be in person (we have limited spots for online participation)
- Whether you require on-site childcare and/or other forms of accommodation (e.g., BSL interpretation, hearing loops)
We value children’s disruptive power and we welcome them in all spaces at the conference. We will provide facilities for babies and young children and chest/breastfeeding participants. Childcare staff will be hired should participants indicate a need for it – please do not forget to include it in your application if that is the case.
Participation includes a £50 fee for in-person attendance, and £20 for online attendance. We can provide fee waivers for applicants without institutional support.
Information on how to register for the conference - including without presenting - will follow shortly. If you wish to receive updates about the conference or the Collective in general, you can subscribe to our mailing list and follow us on social media.
Conference organising committee:
Sarah Werner Boada, University of Warwick
Patricia Hamilton, University of York