Publications


Associated publications.

 

Matricentric Feminism: Theory, Activism, and Practice.
(2016). By Andrea O'Reilly. Demeter Press.

The book argues 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 feminism of their own, one that positions mothers’ concerns as the starting point for a theory and politic of empowerment. O’Reilly terms this new mode of feminism matricentic feminism and the book explores how it is represented and experienced in theory, activism, and practice. The chapter on maternal theory examines the central theoretical concepts of maternal scholarship while the chapter on activism considers the twenty-first century motherhood movement. Feminist mothering is likewise examined as the specific practice of matricentric feminism and this chapter discusses various theories and strategies on and for maternal empowerment. Matricentric feminism is also examined in relation to the larger field of academic feminism; here O’Reilly persuasively shows how matricentric feminism has been marginalized in academic feminism and considers the reasons for such exclusion and how such may be challenged and changed.

 

Mothers at the margins: stories of challenge, resistance and love. (2015).Edited by Lisa Raith, Jenny Jones, and Marie Porter. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

In the last two decades, maternal scholarship has grown exponentially. Despite this, however, there are still numerous areas which remain under-researched, one of which is the experiences of marginalised mothers. Far from being a sentimental, feel-good account of mothering, this collection speaks with the voices of mothers through the application of a matricentric lens. In particular, it speaks with the voices of those mothers who feel alienated or stigmatised; mothers who have been rendered invisible; mothers who feel they have been silenced. These are the voices of mothers who, through a perception that they do not fit the accepted and expected norms of motherhood, have been relegated to the margins. In recovering these “lost” voices, the attuned listener may hear tones that resonate, are dissonant, angry or full of joy.

This book explores the experiences of mothers from broad and diverse socio-cultural backgrounds, thus expanding understandings and appreciations of the complexity of maternal experiences. It challenges narrowly constructed ideas of maternal identity, countering the homogenous collection of voices which speak in normative tones and of predictable values on the subject of motherhood and mothering. Recovering the marginalised voice of mothering and the voices of marginalised mothers reveals not only structures of alienation, oppression and marginalisation, but also strategies of resistance and love that such mothers develop through negotiating the challenges encountered in their living realities.

 

Journal of Family Studies, Vol. 21: Issue 3, 2015. "Motherhood, Feminisms and the Future".

 Access: http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy1.library.usyd.edu.au/10.1080/13229400.2015.1086404

 

Hecate, Vol. 36: Issue 1/2, 2010. "Focus on Mothering".

Access: http://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=201102300;res=IELAPA

 

Mother Texts: Narratives and Counter Narratives. (2010). Edited by Julie Kelso and Marie Porter. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Every day, human beings tell and are told stories, sometimes in obvious ways, sometimes not. Most of our communication with each other, direct or indirect, involves narrative production and reception. Narrative is constitutive of human being. However, whose narratives are heard? Feminists argue that the relations between language, knowledge, gender and power, particularly the question as to whether man-made and controlled language is a material fit to receive and convey woman's stories, are critical issues, because historically, patriarchy has worked to silence women's dialogue. Male knowledge, unsurprisingly, created and continues to create unrepresentative maternal narratives which lead to unreal expectations of mothers and motherwork. It is, therefore, disconcertingly significant for mothers that neither mothers nor their motherwork have been considered worthy of historical record; nor are historical records usually written from a mother's perspective. Hence, the narrative research in this book, which gives recognition to motherhood, mothers and/or the work they do, is valuable. It adds to the rapidly accumulating maternal research - research that is now available for the historical record. Mothers are speaking up, developing a canon of literature/research narrated in maternal language and claiming maternal knowledge and power. 

 

Theorising and Representing Maternal Subjectivities. (2008). Edited by Julie Kelso and Marie Porter. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

 

Maternal research is a rapidly expanding, multi-disciplinary form of scholarship. Prior to second wave feminism most motherhood literature was written from a male perspective. This literature focused on telling mothers how to practice mothering without acknowledging the expertise of the mothers themselves. Research on motherhood as it is experienced in all its facets by mothers has only emerged in recent decades. This book is aimed at expanding academic knowledge of motherhood, from a feminist perspective, looking particularly at how maternal subjectivities can be represented and theorised. When mothers themselves (academic or not) are responsible for theorisation and representation of maternal realities, dominant theories and representations of motherhood are radically challenged. In Theorising and Representing Maternal Realities the contributors argue that it is no longer acceptable to regard mothers as mere objects of knowledge and research. They are primarily the subjects of knowledge and research.

 

Motherhood: Power and Oppression (2005). Edited by Marie Porter, Andrea O’Reilly and Patricia Short. Toronto: Women’s Press.

In feminism, the institution of mothering/motherhood has been a highly contested area in how it relates to the oppression of women. As Adrienne Rich articulated in her classic 1976 book Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution, although motherhood as an institution is a male-defined site of oppression, women's own experiences of mothering can nonetheless be a source of power. This volume examines four locations wherein motherhood is simultaneously experienced as a site of oppression and of power: embodiment, representation, practice and separation. Motherhood includes psychological, historical, sociological, literary and cultural approaches to inquiry and a wide range of disciplinary perspectives ? qualitative, quantitative, corporeal, legal, religious, fictional, mythological, dramatic and action research. This rich collection not only covers a wide range of subject matter but also illustrates ways of doing feminist research and practice.