Refiguring Motherhood Beyond Biology  book cover
1st Edition

Refiguring Motherhood Beyond Biology

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after January 31, 2023
ISBN 9781032318660
January 31, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
280 Pages

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USD $160.00

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Book Description

This book unpacks and interrogates dominant constructions of mothering, making use of interdisciplinary, ideological and theoretical perspectives to investigate how new rhetorics of mothering can expand the realm of maternal care-givers beyond the biological definitions of motherhood.

This diverse collection is at the cutting-edge of rhetoric, feminism and motherhood studies, and the chapters challenge the confines of biological parenting as heteronormative within the neo-liberal nuclear family. The contributors examine, how despite the diversity of parental relationships, many are excluded by the understanding of mothers biologically tied to their children. The volume seeks to expose the underpinnings of biological primacy and argues that twenty-first century families and familial circumstances are ill- served by biological ideology. Topics include: Re-Imagining Queer Black Motherhood, Chicana Feminist approaches to reproductive justice, the commercialization and medicalization of infertility, and ableism and motherhood.

This is a unique and fascinating book suitable for students and scholars in gender studies, sexuality studies, communication studies, sociology, and cultural studies.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Resisting Rhetorics of Mothering, Intensive Mothering, and Biological Determinism

Valerie Renegar and Kirsti Cole

Part 1: Intersections of Motherhood Figures Beyond Biology

1 Muslim Mothering & Divesting from Whiteness

Lamiyah Bahrainwala

2 SBF Seeking Motherhood: An Autoethnographic Journey Toward Pregnancy

Natasha R. Howard

3 Re-Imaging Queer Black Motherhood

Elizabeth Y. Whittington

4 Rhetorically Constructing Motherhood in Pregnancy Loss

Sarah Steimel

5 Comadrisma, Mamás, and Tías: An Intersectional Chicana Feminist Approach to Comunidad and Reproductive Justice

Sarah De Los Santos Upton and Leandra H. Hernandez

Part 2: Refiguring Media Representations of Motherhood Beyond Biology

6: Rae Lynn Schwartz-DuPre and Stacey Sowards

Donor Eggs and Sperm: Rhetorical Explanations of Parenthood in Children’s Literature

7: Catherine Bourland Ross and Bailey Barlow

Las No-Madres: The Commercialization and Medicalization of Infertility in Quién quiere ser madre

8: Mollie K. Murphy

The Limitations of (Privileged) Maternal Appeals: Sandra Steingraber’s Constructions of Mothering in a Toxic Environment

9 Ableism and Motherhood: Invisible Illness and Moral Implications of ‘Good’ Mothering

Elizabeth L. Spradley

10 Our Bodies, Our Minds, Ourselves: Women’s Mental Health and Postpartum Depression

Jennifer Rome Kruse

11 Spiritual Mothers: Evangelical Practices of Mothering in the 21st Century

Sarah Kornfield

Part 3: Refiguring the Rhetoric of Motherhood Beyond Biology

12 Are you my mother? Reconceptualizing Pregnancy and Motherhood through Narratives of Trans Men

Erika Thomas

13 When Caring About leads to Caring For: Dissociation, Biology, and the Domestic Sphere in Pro-Caregiving Advocacy

Rachel D. Davidson

14 #MotherofExiles: Gender and Race in Motherhood Appeals Evoking the Statue of Liberty to Protest Family Separation Policies

Heidi Hamilton

15 ‘Good’ Mothering and the Question of Migrant Mothers at the Border

Katherine J. Hampsten

16 Challenges to Neoliberal Parenting and The Rise of the Ideal Stepmother

Valerie Renegar and Kirsti Cole



Sara Hayden and Jennifer Borda

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Kirsti Cole is a Professor of Rhetoric, Composition, and Literature at Minnesota State University. She is the faculty chair of the Teaching Writing Graduate Certificate and Master’s of Communication and Composition programs. She has published articles in Women’s Studies in Communication, TCQ, Feminist Media Studies, College English, harlot, and thirdspace, as well as a number of chapters in edited collections. Her collection Feminist Challenges or Feminist Rhetorics was published in 2014. She has also edited the following collections with Holly Hassel, Surviving Sexism in the Academy: Feminist Strategies for Leadership (2017), Academic Labor beyond the College Classroom: Working for Our Values (2020), and Transformations: Change Work Across Writing Programs, Pedagogies, and Practices (2021).

Valerie Renegar is a Professor of Communication Studies at Southwestern University. Her research focuses on feminist rhetoric as well as the role of rhetoric in social change. Her work appears in several outlets including Hypatia, Women’s Studies in Communication, Communication Studies, Howard Journal of Communications, and the Western Journal of Communication as well as chapters in a number of edited collections.