Worn Out! Motherwork in the Age of Austerity, New York, 6-7 March 2015

What? Worn Out! Motherwork in the Age of Austerity strand at 17th Annual Women’s History Conference,

Where? Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, New York, USA,

When? 6-7 March 2015

Deadline for submissions? Not specified (contact strand convenor).


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than 60% of mothers of preschool children are in the paid workforce, and for mothers of school-age children, that figure nears 80%.  If paychecks were all it took to liberate women, we would be well on our way.  Instead, we’re exhausted, and while this problem is hardly unique to the United States, the American system of long hours on the job and scant provision for public welfare makes the challenges of motherwork all the more acute.  It’s not hard to figure out what brought us to this pass:  wage stagnation, increasingly lengthy workweeks, proliferating numbers of single-parent households and two-income couples, gaping holes in the social safety net, erosion of labor unions, mounting violence against our children by both civilians and the state, and diminished public spending on youth recreation, daycare, afterschool programs and other services crucial to working families.  The question is: what can we do to turn things around? This conference will explore answers to that question.

Sharing Patricia Hill Collins’s belief that “individual survival, empowerment and identity require group survival, empowerment and identity,” we especially seek collective solutions, from proposals for new legislation and public services to reports on the work of grassroots organizations of mothers that are making a way out of no way

Possible Topics

Specific panel topics may include, but are not limited to:

·       Community Mothering

·       Family Policy: What Can the US Learn from the Rest of the World?

·       Global Families: Mothering Across Borders

·       Media Representations: Bad Mothers/Supermoms

·       Mommy Wars: The Race to the Bottom

·       Motherhood and the Penal State: Women and Children Behind Bars

·       Mothers on the Job: Where are the Family Friendly Policies?

·       Mothers Organizing Mothers

·       Motherwork as Paid Labor: Childcare Workers Speak Out!

·       Motherwork as Unpaid Labor

·       Parenting While Black

·       Special Needs Moms: Mothers and Children with Disabilities

·       Welfare Rights as Human Rights

·       Writing Motherhood

Submission Details

Proposals should be no more than two pages.

Please include a short description of each presentation and a one-page C.V. for each presenter.

Proposals for panels are especially welcome but individual papers will be considered.

Email submissions are preferred.

Further Information

Proposals and queries should be sent to:

Tara James
Women’s History Graduate Program
Sarah Lawrence College
North 7
Bronxville, NY 10708

Email: tjames@sarahlawrence.edu

Visit the conference website.


Join the conversation! Comments are moderated.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s