Bridging the gap between feminist studies of motherhood and queer theory, Mothering Queerly, Queering Motherhood articulates a provocative philosophy of queer kinship that need not be rooted in lesbian or gay sexual identities. Working from an interdisciplinary framework that incorporates feminist philosophy and queer, psychoanalytic, poststructuralist, and postcolonial theories, Shelley M. Park offers a powerful critique of an ideology she terms monomaternalism. Despite widespread cultural insistence that every child should have one—and only one—“real” mother, many contemporary family constellations do not (...) fit this mandate. Park highlights the negative consequences of this ideology and demonstrates how families created through open adoption, same-sex parenting, divorce, and plural marriage can be sites of resistance. Drawing from personal experiences as both an adoptive and a biological mother and juxtaposing these autobiographical reflections with critical readings of cultural texts representing multi-mother families, Park advocates a new understanding of postmodern families as potentially queer coalitional assemblages held together by a mixture of affection and critical reflection premised on difference. (shrink)
As new communication technologies transform everyday life in the 21st century, personal, family, and other social relations are transformed with it. As a way of exploring the larger question, "how exactly does communication technology transform love and how love is lived?" here I explore the cell phone, instant messaging and other communication technologies as electronic extensions of maternal bodies connecting (cyber)mother to (cyber)children. -/- Feminist explorations of the marketing and use of cell phones, as well as other communication technologies, have (...) largely remarked on the pernicious gender ideologies intertwined with technological innovation and application. If, however, we take seriously Haraway’s (1991) claim that postmodern humans are cyborgs, the distinction between human animals and machines breaks down in ways that invite us to revision the questions we ask about technology. Thus instead of inquiring about the oppression engendered by the production and consumption of communication technologies, here I explore the ways in which technology functions as an extension and modification of human embodiment that transforms our experiences of intimacy and our ability to create, maintain and transform loving relationships with others. More specifically, I examine cyborg mothering as transformative of loving relationships between women and children. (shrink)
This paper examines the possibility of parenting as a queer practice. Examining definitions of “queer” as resistant to presumptions and practices of reprosexuality and repro-narrativity (Michael Warner), bourgeouis norms of domestic space and family time (Judith Halberstam), and policies of reproductive futurism (Lee Edelman), I argue that queer parenting is possible. Indeed, parenting that resists practices of normalization are, in part, realized by certain types of postmodern families. However, fully actualizing the possibility of parenting queerly—and thus teaching our children the (...) values of non-normativity--requires engaging political struggles for distributive justice. These are, thus, the struggles that should be at the center of queer politics, rather than the current struggles for gay marriage and homoparental rights. (shrink)
This paper comments on the strategies and goals of a politics of recognition as celebrated by Nancy Nicol’s important documentary coverage of the gay and lesbian movement for family rights in Quebec. While agreeing that ending legal discrimination against lgbt families is important, I suggest that political recognition of same-sex families and their children is a too limited goal for queer families and their allies. Moreover, it is a goal, I argue, that often trades on trades on troublesome assumptions about (...) gender, class, race, age and normative commitments to monogamy as these relate to distinctions between, for example, “fit” and “unfit” parents. (shrink)
: A pronatalist perspective on maternal bodies renders the adoptive maternal body queer. In this essay, I argue that the queerness of the adoptive maternal body makes it a useful epistemic standpoint from which to critique dominant views of mothering. In particular, exploring motherhood through the lens of adoption reveals the discursive mediation and social regulation of all maternal bodies, as well as the normalizing assumptions of heteronormativity, "reprosexuality," and family homogeneity that frame a traditional view of the biological family. (...) As participants in motherhood who resist "repro-narrativity," " reprosexuality," and essentialism, adoptive maternal bodies have the potential to both queer our notions of normal mothering and normalize our notions of queer mothering. (shrink)
In this address, I defend happiness as a disposition conducive to, or at least compatible with, a view of the world that is both cognitively and politically valuable, that is, both conducive to truth and ethically appropriate.
This paper examines the complexity and fluidity of maternal identity through an examination of narratives about "real motherhood" found in children's literature. Focusing on the multiplicity of mothers in adoption, I question standard views of maternity in which gestational, genetic and social mothering all coincide in a single person. The shortcomings of traditional notions of motherhood are overcome by developing a fluid and inclusive conception of maternal reality as authored by a child's own perceptions.
This paper examines a variety of social scientific studies purporting to demonstrate that transracial adoption is in the best interests of children. Finding flaws in these studies and the ethical and political arguments based upon such scientific findings, we argue for adoption practices and policies that respect the racial and ethnic identities of children of color and their communities of origin.
An examination of the debates over the so-called 'false' memory syndrome. In this paper, I concur that memory is malleable, but interrogate notions of truth and falsity underlying standards used to evaluate the accuracy of memories of abuse. Such standards divert us, I suggest, from recognizing the truth behind widespread recollections of abuse at the hands of patriarchy.
In this essay, I attempt to outline a feminist philosophical approach to the current debate concerning (allegedly) false memories of childhood sexual abuse. Bringing the voices of feminist philosophers to bear on this issue highlights the implicit and sometimes questionable epistemological, metaphysical, and ethical-political commitments of some therapists and scientists involved in these debates. It also illuminates some current debates in and about feminist philosophy.