Mother Studies

Mother Studies History

Mother Studies History

This chart identifies two areas of emerging culture and education in North America in the late 1990s. The American Mom Rock music movement (1997), championed by M. Joy Rose, and Feminist Motherhood (1998) pioneered by Dr. Andrea O’Reilly at York University. Ms. Rose’s focus morphed in 2003 into the Museum of Motherhood, which encompassed the idea of a teaching facility with a library and exhibit center focused on motherhood. O’Reilly’s work continued in the area of the academy, Feminist Motherhood, and publishing with Demeter Press. Both women worked within their respective spheres to create conferences, raise awareness, and begin a dialogue about the intellectual aspects of mother research and writing. Initially unaware of each other’s work, they met in 2007, and ultimately collaborated for a period 2008-2010 before continuing within their respective institutions – Mamapalooza & MOM in the case of Martha Joy Rose and Demeter & MIRCI in the case of Dr. Andrea O’Reilly.

This timeline does not include the many social, political, literary, individual, community, and commercial projects that emerged as well during this period. Those are varied and impactful. They can be accessed through multiple sources, including A. O’Reilly’s book The Motherhood Movement, You Say You Want a Revolution, which M. Joy Rose filmed during the Toronto Conference in 2008. The post-second wave of feminist pioneers like Sara Ruddick helped pre-pave the way for a contemporary motherhood movement. 1997-2007 were pivotal years in terms of the creation of an identity now widely and collectively understand as a “mother” identity in the public arena. Branding, and the identification of a particular mother-centric perspective have contributed greatly to the making of intellectual discourse, which continue to this day in the blog-o-sphere and social-political movements like Moms Rising. The purpose of this map is to identify how concepts of Motherhood crystalized, and were embodied in mother-canons to form the basis for the establishment of Mother Studies as a legitimate course of academic pursuit.

*I have added my thesis advisors firth two works to give context here. Much more research can be connected in terms of a “Mother Studies” history. My fall semester 2014 project at CUNY, GC plays with this. A more extensive accounting is available online at Electric Mommyland [CLINK]


1984 – Giving Birth; Alternatives in Childbirth. Barbara Katz Rothman

1989 – Recreating Motherhood, Barbara Katz Rothman

1989 -1994 –  M. Joy Rose first child was born in NYC. Three more followed through 1994 and I began the process of examining m/otherhood through a critical lens.

1997 – Housewives On Prozac band; first Mom Rock band (1997-2007)

Nov. 9, 1997 – Press; NY Times, “Band Sings About What It’s Like to Raise a Family in the 90’s

1998 – Redefining Motherhood: Changing Identities and Patterns, Second Story Press, ‪Sharon Abbey, ‪Andrea O’Reilly 1998

May, 2002 – Mamapalooza Festival NYC; Mom-branded arts, entertainment, and business. The festival grows to include hundreds of artists in 22 cities and four countries. The mayors of Buffalo and San Francisco declared “Mamapalooza Days” and the festival was used as a plot point in “Motherhood” the movie, starring Uma Thurman in 2009. The same year Kate Perotti released Momz Hot Rocks, a film about the women of Mamapalooza.

August 22, 2002 – Press;

2004 – Press; Women’s e-news:

2004 – The MOM Egg is born: edited by M. Joy Rose and Jamie Cat Callan; eventually picked up by Alana Ruben Free, and now current publisher, Marjorie Tesser

2004- From Motherhood to Mothering: The Legacy of Adrienne Rich’s of Woman Born, edited; Andrea O’Reilly

2004 – Mother Outlaws: Theories and Practices of Empowered Mothering, edited; Andrea O’Reilly

2005 – Mom Rock will teach the punks a think or two:

2005- Press: Fox, “All Mom Bands Rock Housewife Sterotype:

2005 – Literary Mama;

2006 – Mama Conference, Women’s Media Center (Feminism & The Economics of Creativity & Motherhood)

2006 – Press; Mamapalooza; Cocoa Beach:

Ephemera picks up the idea of “Moms Rock” buttons and issues a check to Joy Rose for the concept.MomsRockButton

2007 – MOM Conference, Nola Studios (Mamapalooza Festival & Lifestyle Conference, with performances around NYC

2007 – Maternal Theory: Essential Readings, edited; Andrea O’Reilly

(April) 2008 – Martha Joy Rose and Lynn Kuechle approach MSU, Mankato about offering a degree in “Mother Studies”. The conversation goes to the Dean. (Lynn Kuechle created Mamapalooza events at MSU) Press:

2008 – The International Mothers Network forms at a conference called The Motherhood Movement; You Say You Want A Revolution. M. Joy Rose films the event and is part of the collaborative creation of IMN (now renamed International Mothers and Mothering Network)

2008 – Housewives On Prozac plays its last gig

Nov 13, 2009 – Press; A Museum for Mothers, Utne Magazine (jpg & PDF available)

May 2009 – Conference, Nola Studios; ARM (Association for Research on Mothers; now MIRCI) and Mamapalooza/MOM with multiple panels and presenters

2009 – Mom Writers Literary Magazine transitions to Joy Rose as publisher, becoming Mamazina Magazine -2011

2009 – From the Personal to the Political; Toward a New Theory of Maternal Narrative, by Andrea O’Reilly

2010 – Mamapalooza‘s last national campaign; California Go Green Expo, Westchester Parks, and NYC (PDF)

2011 – The Museum of Motherhood opens in NYC

2011 – Encyclopedia of Motherhood is published by Sage, edited by Andrea O’Reilly

2011- Samira Kawash write about “New Directions in Mother Studies; article (PDF)


Mamapalooza_LiteraryMama.PDF and Docx

HOP_ReviewNYTimes.PDF and 2


The Nathan Cummings Foundation.doc



ARM brochure 2007.pdf




ARM conf Invoice.xls



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