Reading Motherhood Politically

Stream: Panel 72 - Gender Politics: Gender and Representation: Women in Power 
Date: Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Time: 11.00 am – 12.30 pm


Based on a series of in-depth life history interviews and participatory workshops with mother and grandmother ‘militants’ and ‘mother-allies’ in Fortaleza, Brazil and Cali, Colombia undertaken in 2015-2016, this paper explores motherhood as a hegemonic institution, a lived and transgressive practice, and a cosmovision that connects maternal with non-maternal bodies. It suggests that through the lens of motherhood we can develop new readings of the political, particularly of the limits of representative (liberal and left) understandings of emancipation and democracy. These readings stretch our epistemological horizons and conceptual frameworks of emancipatory politics towards an integral praxis which includes the embodied and spiritual and which transgresses dualisms between thought and practice, mind and body, and private and public.


Sara Motta (Presenter), University of Newcastle
Sara C Motta is a mother, critical theorist and popular educator currently working as senior lecturer in Politics at the University of Newcastle, Australia. She has published widely in relation to new forms of popular politics in Latin America, UK and Australia, with a focus on decolonising subjectivities, prefigurative epistemologies and emancipatory pedagogies. Her most recent books (with Mike Cole) are Education and Social Change in the Americas and 21st Century Socialism: The Role of Radical Education (both Palgrave Macmillan, 2013 and 2014).