Philosophical Reflections on Mothering in Trauma examines the lived experience of mothering children who have been seriously harmed by others. Using an interdisciplinary approach, that employs a feminist phenomenology and an emphasis on narrative theory, this ground-breaking work gives voice to experiences of trauma, and of mothering, not ordinarily heard in philosophical discourses.
With a philosophical lens, Melissa Burchard examines the challenges faced by families during the adoption and parenting of abused children. In doing so, Burchard argues that the investigation of traumatic experience poses questions that philosophers must address if we are to improve collective understanding of the human condition. These questions centre around the epistemological implications of traumatic experience, the role of power and privilege in abusive relationships, and the interconnected issues of morality and moral agency in trauma, problematic desires engendered in traumatic circumstances, and therapeutic responses to trauma. The book expresses ways in which mothering wounded children can, if we are deeply engaged and reflective, shift our understandings of what it means to be parents, to be children, to love, to know, to construct a self, to feel desire, to nurture, to coerce, and to live in the ambiguity of not knowing which decisions are right and which are wrong.
Table of Contents
Preface, Acknowledgements, Introduction Section I: Epistemologies of Disorder and Trauma Chapter 1. The Intelligibility of Disorder Chapter 2. Narrative Knowing, Chaos and Unspeakability Section II: Moral Matters Chapter 3. Fragments and Ambiguities Chapter 4. Troubled and Troubling Desires Chapter 5. Philosophical Interventions in Therapy Section III: Traumatic Disfigurements Chapter 6. The Monsters Are Real Chapter 7. Heroic Disfigurements: Trauma and Alienation Chapter 8. On the Dark Side Section IV: Adventures in Becoming: Theorizing Identity in Trauma Chapter 9. So Do I Call You Mom Now? Attachment, Adoption and Identity Chapter 10. Encompassing Failure Chapter 11. Concluding Reflections, Index
Melissa Burchard is Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina Asheville. Her research interests include issues in care ethics, mothering and ethical issues in popular culture, especially children’s literature and film. Relevant publications include "What’s an Adoptive Mother to Do? When Your Child’s Desires Are a Problem" in Coming to Life: Philosophies of Pregnancy, Childbirth and Mothering (2012), and "Not a Matter of Will: A Narrative and Cross-Cultural Exploration of Maternal Ambivalences" with Keya Maitra in Lived Experiences of Women in Academia: Metaphors, Manifestoes and Memoir (2018).