Maki Motapanyane, PhD

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Matricentric Feminism: Theory, Activism, Politics, Practice and Representation

Posted by Maki Motapanyane on May 4, 2018 at 1:05 PM

"Motherhood is the unfinished business of feminism" - Andrea O'Reilly, founder and Director of the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement (MIRCI) and Demeter Press.

MIRCI is an international consortium of motherhood scholars and activists, developed by Andrea O'Reilly from the former Association for Research on Mothering at York University (1998-2010). The initiative houses the Journal of the Motherhood Initiative (JMI), Mother Outlaws, and is partnered with Demeter Press. This year's MIRCI annual conference was held at Syracuse University in Florence, Italy, and focused on the theory and practice of matricentric feminism - a mode of feminism in which mothers and mothering count.

In the words of the conference overview:

"Maternal scholars [...] emphasize...that the category of mother is distinct from the category of woman and that many of the problems mothers face - social, economic, political, cultural, psychological, and so forth - are specific to women's role and identity as mothers. Indeed, mothers are oppressed under patriarchy as women and as mothers. Consequently, mothers need a matricentric mode of feminism organized from and for their particular identity and work as mothers. Indeed, a mother-centred feminism is needed because mothers - arguably more so than women in general - remain disempowered despite forty years of femnism."

In her keynote address, formidable motherhood scholar and psychotherapist Petra Bueskens, called attention to the fact that the crucial gains made by women in their youth, are not sustained over the longer life cycle - a pattern that is related to the politics of marriage and motherhood. This reality means that women in the West are faced with a particular contemporary conundrum - they are simultaneously liberated (in the neo-liberal, individualistic sense) and oppressed. Bueskens presents this dynamic as a new sexual contract, in which modernity has enabled women as individuals, and disabled them as mothers. See Petra Buesken's book on this subject, Modern Motherhood and Women's Dual Identities: Rewriting the Sexual Contract. Routledge, 2018.

In her keynote address, Andrea O'Reilly, trailblazer and mother of modern motherhood studies, reasserted the need that mothers have for a feminism of their own. She identified a pervasive feminist discomfort with all things to do with motherhood, noting, importantly, that it is the institution of motherhood that is the problem, not the experience of being a mother and mothering. Mothers and mothering, are too often, and unfortunately, approached with apprehension, or neglected all together by a mainstream and academic feminist cultures in which there is great discomfort with anything perceived to underscore gender difference or signal gender essentialism. However, as O'Reilly aptly argues, we do not have to disavow the experience of mothering in order to critique and deconstruct the institution of motherhood. We can say that gender is a construction and that mothers and their mothering work matters. See Andrea O'Reilly's, Matricentric Feminism: Theory, Activism, and Practice. Demeter Press, 2016.

Motapanyane, M., ed. Motherhood and Lone/Single Parenting: A 21st Century Perspective. Bradford: Demeter Press, 2016.

Posted by Maki Motapanyane on March 3, 2014 at 2:00 AM

The 21st century sustains one significant commonality with the decades of the preceding century. The majority of individuals parenting on their own and heading one-parent families continue to be mothers. Even so, current trends in (economic, political, cultural) globalization, technological advancement, shifts in political, economic and social policy, contemporary demographic shifts, changing trends in the labor sector linked to global economics, and developments in legislative and judicial output, all signify the distinctiveness of the moment with regard to family patterns and norms. Seeking to contribute to an existing body of literature focused on single motherhood and lone parenting in the 20th century, this collection explores a more recent landscape of 21st century debates, policies and experiences surrounding single motherhood and one-parent headed families.

For more information on this book, please visit Demeter Press

Motapanyane, M., ed. Mothering in Hip-Hop Culture: Representation and Experience. Bradford: Demeter Press, 2012.

Posted by Maki Motapanyane on April 15, 2010 at 4:25 PM

An Overview of the Volume


Motherhood is an experience that is ever-present yet invisible in the global music genre of Hip-Hop. This aspect of women's experience has garnered little attention from journalists, writers and scholars of Hip-Hop culture. Nor do we have any understanding of how mothers who remain Hip-Hop culture enthusiasts negotiate their relationship to the culture of Hip-Hop and its music with their children. Furthermore, what are the discursive spaces that motherhood occupies in Hip-Hop? Are there ways of understanding mothering in Hip-Hop along a historical continuum? What are some of the ways that motherhood complicates the hyper-masculinity so dominant in Hip-Hop? What does an empowered and feminist Hip-Hop mothering look like? How are mothers engaging with Hip-Hop, both locally and globally?


Since its emergence in the South Bronx during the late 1970s, Hip-Hop has attained global reach, inspiring a diversity of localized appropriations in regions around the world. Hip-Hop music is at home in Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and the Middle East - in musical genres as diverse as Bhangra, Kwaito, Rock, Salsa and Soukous. Women, of course, have had a significant hand in sustaining Hip-Hop culture all over the world. Yet, little is known of their involvement in Hip-Hop outside of North America and a few European regions. More generally, even less is understood about motherhood as a dimension of women's experiences as rappers, dancers, filmmakers, producers, DJs, graphic artists, music enthusiasts, and writers of Hip-Hop culture.


This volume aims to give motherhood within Hip-Hop culture an intellectual point of entry into an existing field of academic debates that have largely focused on analyzing the sexual objectification of women, and the valorization of violent masculinity, fierce homophobia and rampant consumerism. As such, I see this volume as making a timely and much needed contribution to existing scholarship and writing in this area.

 

Visit http://www.demeterpress.org/MotheringandHipHop.html to place an order. Examination copies are also available!

 


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