10th 2008
Childbirth, motherhood, and the maternal body

Posted under: Berkshire Conference, the body, women's history

Since my post OB/GYNs, Ourselves was so popular (or at least inspired a very interesting debate in the comments), I thought I would let you all know about some of the large number of sessions we’re featuring at the 2008 Berkshire Conference this weekend on the subject of childbirth, motherhood, and the maternal body.  As anyone working in women’s history knows, the history of the body and the history of sexuality have been really big lately, and they’ve given birth (so to speak) to books, articles, and conference papers on the broad subject of maternity.  Here are some very interesting examples:

Saturday, June 13, 8:30 a.m.


Chair: Jacqueline H. Wolf, Ohio University

Comares: Mothers, Midwives, and Wetnurses in Late Medieval Valencia

Debra Gene Blumenthal, University of California, Santa Barbara

The Anatomy of Eve: Imagining the Maternal Body in 16th-Century Germany

Kathleen Maisie Crowther, University of Oklahoma

Examining the Wetnurse: Theory and Practice in Medical Texts of the 12th and 13th Centuries

William F. MacLehose, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Comment: Rebecca Lynn Winer, Villanova University



Chair: Elizabeth Watkins, University of California, San Francisco

In Their Best Interests: Social Science, Feminism, and the Revaluing of Working Mothers in the 1960s

Elizabeth More, Harvard University

Mixers and Moulders: Neo-Evangelical Models of American Motherhood, 1943-1960

Eliza Young, Harvard University

Mother’s Milk without Mother’s Body: A History of the Late 20th-Century Milk Bank

Kara Swanson, Harvard University

Comment: Janet Golden, Rutgers University, New Brunswick



Chair: Rebecca M. Kluchin, California State University, Sacramento

Now You See It, Now You Don’t: The Maternal Body in Contemporary Art

Rachel Epp Buller, Independent Scholar

(Re-) addressing the Maternal Body: Representations of Motherhood, Modernization, and the Roots of Public Health in Chile

Jadwiga Pieper Mooney, University of Arizona

“Baby Factories” and Squatting “Primitives”: Laboring Bodies in Mid 20th-Century Representations of Natural Childbirth

Jane Simonsen, Augustana College

Comment: Cheryl Lemus, Northern Illinois University

Ann Simonsen Oswood, The Childbirth Collective


Saturday, June 13, 11 a.m.


Chair: Anna R. Igra, Carleton College

Enforcing Dependency: Immigrant Mothers and Health Care Access

Lisa Sun-Hee Park, University of California, San Diego

Begging a Different Memory: Revisionary Images of Mothers in Rickie Solinger’s Beggars and Choosers

Ruby Tapia, Ohio State University

Child Care Choices: Mothers, the Market, and Federal Policy
Elizabeth Rose, Central Connecticut State University
Comment: Assata Zerai, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Since the conference starts on Thursday, and I’ve got official responsibilities pretty much every day all day long, I don’t think I’ll be able to blog about the conference.  However, a past U.S. and Canadian history Program Committee co-Chair will be blogging the Berks, so those of you who can’t be with us in Minneapolis can check in with Tenured Radical for news, views, gossip, and scandal!  (Well, I doubt that there will be scandal, or if there is, I hope that it won’t involve Historiann!) 


7 Responses to “Childbirth, motherhood, and the maternal body”

  1. ortho stice on 10 Jun 2008 at 8:09 am #

    Hi Historiann! The Conference and these sessions sound great. I hope everything goes well and that you have fun, despite all of your committee responsibilities.

    I look forward to reading TR’s Conference updates.

  2. Historiann on 10 Jun 2008 at 8:13 am #

    Hi, Ortho–thanks! It will be quite a party, although the weather looks like it might be very rainy. I’m sure I’ll do some follow-up posts after the conference, but then I think I’ll bury myself in my book and do more posting about eighteenth-century things…

  3. Roxie on 10 Jun 2008 at 9:02 am #

    Have fun at the Berks, Historiann! We’ll miss you. Please give our regards to Homostorian Americanist and tell him we look forward to seeing him soon in our neck of the woods. You should come out this way sometime! We throw a nice party here in Roxie’s World, when we can get the moms to step away from the laptops and open up the bar. ;-)

  4. Historiann on 10 Jun 2008 at 9:18 am #

    Roxie–I would love to take you up on your generous offer. Once the Berks is over, perhaps I can think about simply attending and enjoying other conferences that other people have spend years planning! I’ll check with H.A. to see if he’s scoped out some good history/homo/sexy/gender conferences in the Chesapeake Bay area.

  5. ej on 10 Jun 2008 at 9:18 am #

    What? No scandal? The promise of scandal is the only reason I’m going…

    I was assured something good would happen at the dance.

  6. Historiann on 10 Jun 2008 at 9:37 am #

    If you bring your digital camera, ej, then you might get some good blackmail photos out of the dance!

  7. Tenured Radical on 10 Jun 2008 at 10:36 am #

    Something good always happens at the dance. You heard it here first.


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