About Us

Maternal Scholars Australia is a network of scholars, researchers, writers, and activists who seek to advance and advocate research, discussions, and reflections on the experience of mothering and the social construction of motherhood.

“The category of mother is distinct from the category of woman and… 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.”

Andrea O’Reilly

We are informed and operate from a lens of matricentric feminism. We recognise that women who are mothers face social, economic, political, cultural, and psychological experiences that are specific to their role as mothers. How an individual mother experiences the social construction of motherhood varies according to context, culture, and socioeconomic position.

Aims

  1. Foster connections, collaborations, and conversation among those who are interested in motherhood and feminist mothering.
  2. Promote research through scholarly and activist networks, the media, policy makers, and community workers.
  3. Provide a platform for presentation of research, writing, and reflections on mother-work, mothering, motherhood and related areas, through international conferences and seminars.

Membership

Our organisation is an interdisciplinary network for maternal scholars and those working in the area of maternal studies, to connect and collaborate. Our membership is predominately composed of scholars, but we welcome writers, artists, activists, professionals, groups, agencies, policy makers, educators, anyone interested in feminist mothering.

We are located within overlapping fields, including Women’s and Gender Studies, Cultural Studies, Sexuality and Queer Studies, Sociology, Psychology, Psychoanalysis, Philosophy, Nursing, Social Policy, Education, Social Work, Media and Communications, Fine Arts, Theatre and Drama, Public Health, Midwifery, Creative Arts, among others.

History

Maternal Scholars Australia, was previously named the Australian Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement (AMIRCI), and began as an Association for Research on Motherhood/Mothers/Motherwork (ARM-A).

ARM-A was established by Dr Marie Porter at the conclusion of the conference Theorizing and Representing Maternal Subjectivities held at the University of Queensland, Brisbane in October 2005. The organisation was named to reflect an alignment with ARM at York University, Toronto, led by Prof Andrea O’Reilly. In 2010, ARM changed their name to the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement (MIRCI) and our organisation decided to change its name to the Australian Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement, to reflect this alliance and connection with MIRCI.

In 2019, MIRCI as a Canadian organisation shifted to the now Chicago-based IAMAS – the International Association for Maternal Action and Scholarship. AMIRCI decided to initiate a name change to reflect our organisation’s future and Australian base.