Chapman University is hosting a free, three-day conference, Motherhood to Motherhoods: Ideologies of ‘The Feminine’ on April 28-30 2023. Dr. Julye Bidmead (Religious Studies) and Dr. Stephanie Takaragawa (Sociology) received a 2022-23 On-Campus Conference Award to organize this conference, which will investigate the construction of “motherhood” as a concept and connect community members to holistic resources, reinforcing caregiver contributions to the economy, society, and culture.

The conference will explore singular and plural “motherhoods” as represented in art, literature, film, and social institutions. The conference provides a space for community and academic interactions through panel discussions and wellness workshops, emphasizing the work-life balance that motherhood often neglects, and issues of women’s and caregivers’ labor and health, and gender identities. The conference includes Orange County health advocates, mind and body well-being practitioners, local community leaders, and California artists exploring the ideologies of the feminine.

Dr. Janice DeWhyte, Associate Professor of Religion at Loma Linda University, author of Wom(b)an: A Cultural-Narrative Reading of the Hebrew Bible Barrenness Narratives, will open the conference with a keynote address on the Hebrew Bible barrenness narratives. The keynote address is co-sponsored by the Francis Memorial Lecture Fund in Religious Studies. The conference will close with a screening and panel discussion of the Korean documentary Coming to You (2021) (pictured in header), with filmmaker Byun Gyuri and the two mothers featured in the film. Coming to You follows two mothers, Nabi and Vivian, as they journey with their queer and trans children’s identity, eventually becoming active members of “Pinks: Solidarity for Sexually Minor Cultures & Human Rights,” the Korean activist group for parents of sexual minority children.

Throughout the conference, academic panels and student presentations focused on Politics of Motherhood, Motherhood and Gender, Motherhood and Race,

Dr. Janice DeWhyte

Femininity and Motherhood, Intersectionality and Motherhood, and Motherhood and Health will be disseminated to a wide population to ensure a diversity of voices. Abstract submissions are invited to explore how the concept of motherhood is constructed and shaped and how it can be contested and negotiated through art, discourse, and social institutions. Abstracts will be reviewed on a rolling basis until February 28, 2023.

Additionally, high school and college students are invited to submit poster presentations on themes of mothering and motherhood. Posters exploring how motherhood is constructed and shaped through media representations in popular culture, literature, film, art, and social institutions are particularly encouraged.

Dr. Jan Osborn (English) and Dr. Nam Lee (Dodge) secured a 2022-23 Co-teaching Competition Award to create a new spring course, Representations of Motherhood in Contemporary Literature and Film, that prepares students to present their research at the conference. This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to the concept of Motherhood, exploring how the conventional myth of motherhood is constructed and shaped through media representations in contemporary literature and film. This class is designed to guide students in writing a panel presentation paper that includes critical analysis of the representation of mothers and motherhood in contemporary literature and film.

For more information and to attend, please visit the conference website.