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23rd February, 2022

The Politics of Motherhood

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Event Details

23rd February, 2022
16:00 - 17:15

In this session Pragya Agarwal and Maud Perrier introduce their respective new books, (M)otherhood: On the choices of being a woman and Childcare Struggles, Maternal Workers and Social Reproduction, both of which are concerned with the complex lived realities, challenges and political climate of motherhood today.

(M)otherhood: On the choices of being a woman (Canongate) considers how, in a world where women have more choices than ever, society nevertheless continues to define women by whether they embrace or reject motherhood; whether they can give birth or not.

Pragya Agarwal uses her own varied experiences and choices as a woman of South Asian heritage to examine the broader societal, historical and scientific factors that drive how we think and talk about motherhood.

She looks at how women’s bodies have been monitored and controlled through history, and how this shapes the political constructs of motherhood and womanhood now.

(M)otherhood probes themes of infertility, childbirth and reproductive justice, making a powerful and urgent argument for the need to tackle society’s obsession with women’s bodies and fertility.

Maud Perrier’s book Childcare Struggles, Maternal Workers and Social Reproduction (Bristol UP) is a comparative study (spanning the UK, US and Australia) which brings maternal workers’ politicized voices to the centre of contemporary debates on childcare, work and gender.

Childcare Struggles, illustrates how maternal workers continue to organize against low pay, exploitative working conditions and state retrenchment and provides a unique theorization of feminist divisions and solidarities.

Bringing together social reproduction with maternal studies, this is a resonating call to build a cross-sectoral, intersectional movement around childcare.

Maud Perrier shows why social reproduction needs to be at the centre of a critical theory of work, care and mothering for post-pandemic times.

Speakers: Dr Pragya Agarwal (Loughborough) and Dr Maud Perrier (Bristol)
Respondent: Professor Lynne Segal (Birkbeck/City) 
Chair:Jo Littler, City, University of London

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