5th International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Emotional Geographies
Edinburgh, 10th – 12th June 2015
Time, Temporalities and the Emotional Geographies of Being/Becoming a Mother
Convenors: Rachel Colls (Durham University, UK) and Abi McNiven (University of Oxford, UK)

The following session is interested in exploring the emotional and affective geographies of being/becoming a mother. Within feminist geographical research, a body of work exists which focuses on a range of spatialised and embodied practices and experiences of being/becoming a mother and mothering including research on family photographs (Rose 2010), pregnancy (Longhurst 1997b, 1999), maternity clothes (Gregson and Beale 2004;), online pregnancy/mothering websites (Madge and O’Connor 2002, 2005), breastfeeding (Boyer 2011), midwifery (Fannin 2007), childbirth (Longhurst 2009), inter uterine spaces (Colls and Fannin 2013) and pregnancy loss (McNiven 2014). This session will consider how varied notions of ‘time’ and ‘temporality’ are central to how and when mothering ‘takes place’. Such a focus also calls into question what constitutes mothering/ being a mother and thus how this might feel. For example consider the ways that the experience of being/becoming a mother is described in temporal terms through imagining, planning, predicting, waiting, routinizing and anticipating and how the timing and spacing of mothering is understood in terms of the ‘quality of time’ as stretched, punctuated, monotonous, speeding/slowing, repeating, lost and so on

We welcome proposals for papers (of 15 minutes length) which interrogate the intersections between mothering, time, temporality and emotions/affect. Suggested topics might include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • What does it mean to ‘be’ or ‘become’ a mother? Maternal and non-maternal identities, including around voluntary and involuntary ‘non-motherhood’
  • ‘Beginnings’ and ‘endings’: where does motherhood begin? Where, if at all, does it end?
  • The knowledges, processes, practices and experiences of ‘becoming’/‘being’ a mother; for instance: conception, fertility, pregnancy ‘failure’, pregnancy losses, the use of reproductive technologies, surrogacy, ova donation, adoption and fostering, gestation, labour, delivery/birth, post-natal care, feeding etc.
  • Spaces of mothers/mothering: medical, social/caring, capitalist; for example, hospitals, homebirths, Sure Start/community centres, parenting classes, maternity leave spaces, nurseries/schools, maternity shops, baby showers, etc.
  • Notions of ‘waiting’ and ‘anticipation’: in conception, gestation, adoption, childcare, and so on.
  • Mothering across the lifecourse and life events (of the mother, of the child): being/becoming a mother to an infant or teenager; mothering and relationship breakdown/divorce; being/becoming a bereaved mother
  • Intergenerational mothering relationships: to one’s own mother and/or grandmother, between grandchildren and grandmothers, ‘motherly’ friends and family members, etc.
  • Politicising motherhood, in relation to social issues such as funding cuts to support services, employment and in response to acts of violence/death
  • Discourses and figurations of motherhood in both the historical and contemporary context, for example concerning the figure of the ‘bad mother’ with regards to notions of maternal-foetal conflict and the stigmatisation of teenage mothers.
  • Non-western and post-colonial feminist understandings of mothering and being/becoming a mother
  • Geographical engagements with non-linear feminist theorisations of time and temporality

Abstracts for papers to be sent to Rachel Colls and Abi McNiven by 28th November 5pm.


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