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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Mae C Henderson
GWSS 458
Seattle Campus

Ideologies and Technologies of Motherhood

Examines how motherhood is culturally constituted, regulated, and managed within various ideological and technological milieus. Uses ethnographies from anthropology and case studies from feminist legal theory. Topics include slave mothers, surrogate mothers, lesbian mothers, transracial mothers, co-mothers, teen mothers. Prerequisite: GWSS 200. Offered: jointly with ANTH 484.

Class description

This is an upper-level lecture/discussion seminar in Women Studies. The focus of the course is motherhood as experience, as a socially constructed institution, and as a defining concept in women’s lives whether or not she is a mother. Throughout the course we will raise questions about: 1) how motherhood may be shaped by social, cultural and legal context, 2) how women experience the particularities of motherhood and mothering, 3) how different women experience very differing versions of motherhood and mothering practice, and 4)how all these might inform our own theoretical perspectives about motherhood and mothering. While paying particular attention to the diversity of women’s experiences, we will examine ways in which mothering is influenced by race, class, culture, sexuality, ability, and nationhood. Our task will not be to arrive at definitive answers or a universal view of motherhood and mothering but to explore the ways in which feminist inquiry might lead to a richer and fuller consideration of women’s lives as mothers.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Students can take this class without have taken the pre-requisite GWSS 200

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Mae C Henderson
Date: 02/12/2013