1st Edition

Mothering, Time, and Antimaternalism Motherhood Under Duress in the United States, 1920-1960

By Mary Trigg Copyright 2023
    238 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The book aims to broaden understanding of the diverse positions and meanings of motherhood by investigating understudied and marginalized mothers (rural itinerant, African American, and Irish Catholic American) between 1920 and 1960.

    Fuelled by anxieties around feminism, a perception of men’s loss of status and masculinity, racial tensions, and fears about immigration, "antimaternalism" discourse blamed mothers for a wide range of social ills in the first half of the 20th Century. Mothering, Time, and Antimaternalism considers the ideas, practices, and depictions of antimaternalism, and the ways that mothers responded. Religion, class, race, ethnicity, gender, and immigration status are all analysed as factors shaping maternal experience. The book develops the historical context of American motherhood between 1920 and 1960, examining how changing ideas – scientific motherhood, time efficiency, devaluation of domesticity, racial and religious bias - influenced the construction and experiences of motherhood.

    This is a fascinating and important book suitable for students and scholars in history, gender studies, cultural studies and sociology.


    1 Alarm Clocks in the Soul: Scientific Motherhood, Temporal Regulation, and Antimaternalism

    2 A Promaternal Narrative and Archive: Dorothea Lange’s Photographs of Rural Mothers

    3 Reclaiming Maternity: African-American Mothers and Maternal Grief as a Counter-Narrative

    4 Herself: Irish-American Catholic Mothers, Maternal Power, and Antimaternalism

    5 Antimaternalism and the Work of Care: How is this Showing Up Today?


    Mary K. Trigg is Associate Professor, Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Rutgers University