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Mother Knows Best

February 2009


 

 

Mother Knows Best:  Talking Back to the “Experts”
Eds. Jessica Nathanson and Laura Camille Tuley

Mother Knows Best

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February 2009
223 pages $24.95
ISBN 978-1-55014-487-1

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“Mother Knows Best presents a sustained critique of the leading mothering advice literature of the past decade or so. With a cutting-edge approach and a frank, “talking back” tone, the authors make a significant contribution to the current literature on mothering.”
- Lauri Umansky, Professor, History Department; Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Suffolk University

“Mother Knows Best trumpets the voices of mothers: their experiences, their knowledge, and their authority. A mix of powerful analyses of the advice of parenting “experts” and potent personal reflections about mothering in the 20th and 21st centuries, these essays make an important contribution to the study of motherhood and should be read by all those interested in what it means to mother—feminist scholars, professors, writers, and mothers themselves."
- Heather Hewett, Assistant Professor, English and Women’s Studies; Coordinator, Women’s Studies Program, State University of New York at New Paltz

“The rich blend of personal and theoretical voices in this most needed addition to the growing field of critical discourse on motherhood reveals the necessity for reflective understanding and critical thought concerning the role of experts in motherhood, while celebrating the resolute agency of mothers who trouble and defy the ideology/ideal of the “good” mother.”
- Fiona J. Green, Chair, Women’s and Gender Studies Department, University of Winnipeg

Jessica Nathanson received her Ph.D. in American Studies from SUNY at Buffalo and is Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies and Director of the Women’s Resource Center at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. Her research interests include hybrid identities, reproductive rights, and feminist pedagogy;
and she is the mother of a six-year-old son.

Laura Camille Tuley is an Instructor in English and Women’s Studies at the University of New Orleans and a graduate student in Counseling at Loyola University. She has written on the theme of feminine embodiment in the work of Luce Irigaray and has published on feminist theory, art and culture. Laura writes a regular column on mothering in Mamazine.

 

Table of Contents

Mother Knows Best:  Talking Back to the “Experts”
Eds. Jessica Nathanson and Laura Camille Tuley

Dedication

Acknowledgements

Introduction:  “Knowing Best and Talking Back”

Section One:  Out of our Bodies:  Pregnancy and Birth
Denise A. Copelton, “Neutralization and Emotion Work in Women’s Accounts of Light
Drinking in Pregnancy”
Amber Kinser, “A Mosaic of Pregnancy Expertise”
Laura Major, “Creative Gestation:  Escaping Polarization in Pregnancy and Childbirth Poetry”
Meredith Nash, “The Science of Medical ‘Seeing’:  Constructing ‘Reality’ through Ultrasound”
Laurie Ousley, “Welcome Laughter:  Vicky Iovine’s The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy
Susan Racine Passmore, “Natural Rites:  The Culture of Natural Childbirth”

Section Two:  Is Breast Always Best?:  Breastfeeding
Stephanie Knaak, “Deconstructing Discourse:  Breastfeeding, Intensive Mothering and the Moral
Construction of Choice”
Catherine Ma, “If The Breast is Best, Why Are Breastfeeding Rates So Low?  An In-Depth Look
at Breastfeeding from Policy Makers to The Bottom Dollar”
Karen MacLean, “What My Daughter Knows:  Towards an Epistemology of Breastfeeding”

Section Three:  Challenging Practice:  Raising Our Children
Chris Bobel, “Resisting, But Not Too Much:  Natural Mothering, Privilege and Cooptation”
Rachel Casiday, “Making Decisions About Vaccines:  Interactions Between Parents and
‘Experts’”
May Friedman, “‘Everything You Need to Know about Your Baby’:  Feminism and Attachment
Parenting”
Nélida Quintero, “Power to mother:  Attachment Parenting and The Patriarchal Model of Work”
Damien W. Riggs, “Attachment Theory as a ‘Practice of Heterosexism’:  Resisting the
Psychologisation of Lesbian and Gay Foster Carers”
Laura Camille Tuley, “Half-time Parenting:  An Answer for Academic Women”

Section Four:  Mother Guilt:  Being “Good” Mothers
Janni Aragon, “Instinctual Mamahood:  How I Found the Mama”
Kimberly Chisholm, “Against the Law”
Susan Driver, “Hip Mamas, Playful Imperfections and Defiant Voices:  Resisting fantasies of the
‘good mother’ in Ariel Gore’s survival guides”
Angela Hattery, “Intensive Motherhood Ideology:  Shaping the ways we balance and weave
work and family into the 21st Century and Beyond”
Marsha Marotta, “Relentless Rebuke:  ‘Experts’ and the Scripting of ‘Good’ Mothers”
Jessica Nathanson, “What Mothers Don’t Say out Loud:  On Putting the Academic Self First”

Contributors’ Notes

Mother Knows Best Endorsements

“The rich blend of personal and theoretical voices in this most needed addition to the growing field of critical discourse on motherhood reveals the necessity for reflective understanding and critical thought concerning the role of experts in motherhood, while celebrating the resolute agency of mothers who trouble and defy the ideology/ideal of the “good” mother.”
Fiona J. Green, Chair, Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Winnipeg

"Mother Knows Best presents a sustained critique of the leading mothering advice literature of the past decade or so. With a cutting-edge approach and a frank, "talking back" tone, the authors make a significant contribution to the current literature on mothering."
Lauri Umansky, Professor of History, Suffolk University; co-editor “Bad Mothers”: The Politics of Blame in 20th Century America

“Mother Knows Best trumpets the voices of mothers: their experiences, their knowledge, and their authority. A mix of powerful analyses of the advice of parenting “experts” and potent personal reflections about mothering in the 20th and 21st centuries, these essays make an important contribution to the study of motherhood and should be read by all those interested in what it means to mother— feminist scholars, professors, writers, and mothers themselves.”
Heather Hewett , Assistant Professor, English and Women's Studies, State University of New York at New Paltz

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