Mother Studies


Introduction to Mother Studies

This course has been taught at the Museum of Motherhood 2011-2014

This is a 12-week introduction to the concept of motherhood, fatherhood and family through a critical lens. The course uses articles, statistics, film, and literature to demonstrate that ‘mothering’, birthing, caregiving and childrearing are actually ‘work’ in the true sense of the word. From pregnancy to ‘labor’ the requirements of women, physically, emotionally and spiritually are challenged and stretched, and therefore so are men’s. Participants examine changing perceptions of mothers through history, including some feminist theory, political theory, and sociological theory. Materials are predominantly focused on representations of mothers in the United States, but participants also peek at global perspectives, policies, health statistics and methods of conception. This course takes a scholarly approach to ideas of motherhood, but students will be encouraged to examine their personal experiences as well. The goal of “Introduction to Mother Studies” is to introduce students of all ages to the Museum of Motherhood and: offer them a chance to explore the evolution of family, gain understanding of the historic marginalization of women, and expand on notions of caregiving so we can collectively move future family experiences forward in educated and empowered ways. All students who complete the class will receive a certificate of completion of  ‘Introduction to Mother Studies’, Level I, at the Museum of Motherhood. Open to all.

Martha Joy Rose has been working towards developing tangible ways to explore the theoretical and material aspects of m/othering (and fathering) in the academy since early 2003. The museum was originally conceived as a teaching center, library, and exhibition facility. Ms. Rose is currently enrolled in the master’s program at CUNY’s Graduate Center with the goal of facilitating the establishment of “Mother Studies” as a legitimized field. She is at work on a book about the subject.

Jstor: New Directions in Motherhood Studies

Read more about Mother Studies at the Museum of Motherhood

website: Martha Joy Rose