Toni Morrison and Mothering/Motherhood

Demeter Press is seeking contributions for an edited collection entitled, “Toni Morrison and Mothering/Motherhood.”

Lee Baxter and Martha Satz, editors.

Please submit a 250-300 word abstract and brief biography by April 30 2015 to Lee Baxter ( and Martha Satz (

We are seeking and welcome perspectives from a variety of disciplines, historical, comparative, and cross-cultural, for a collection of essays entitled Toni Morrison and Mothering/Motherhood. In her vast body of work, fiction and non-fiction, Toni Morrison explores and critiques American/African American culture. While Morrison’s novels examine multiple topics such as race, slavery, trauma, and identity, the theme Morrison continually returns to in her work is motherhood. Her most well-known work, for example, Beloved, is a relentless exploration of the dilemmas of motherhood under slavery. Motherhood, however, is a problematic term as it is a social construction dominated by patriarchy and in the case of African-American motherhood, racism. Therefore, it conveys oppressive connotations. Whereas, as Andrea O’Reilly has argued, the term “mothering” is aligned with the empowerment of a woman’s agency in her role as mother, often, the institution works in the opposite way. Although theoretical perceptions and analysis of motherhood are contradictory, they can nevertheless be utilized to examine and understand the various representations of mothers and motherhood in Morrison’s body of work.

Topics may include (but are not limited to):
Gender roles; Maternal Roles/Identity; Maternal traditions
Familial/Communal Structures; Black Motherhood ; The Presence of the Ancestor; Other Mothering; Collective Memory/Cultural Trauma; Mothering-Controlled Reproduction (Racialized Maternity); Language Theory (Julia Kristeva); Violence; Cultural/Individual Meaning of Motherhood; Relationships between Mothers and Daughters/Sons; Mothers & Sexual Violence; Mothers & the Justice System; Class; Cultural Images of Motherhood; Motherhood and Slavery; and Patricia Hill Collins’ Concept of Black Motherhood and Morrison


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