Motherhood in Contemporary American Literature (Panel)


Special Session
American / Gender and Sexuality

Megan Cannella (University of Nevada - Reno)
mcan@****.com (Log-in to reveal)

This panel seeks to explore the ways in which motherhood, in all its stages, across all demographics, is represented in contemporary American literature.

Depictions of maternity in contemporary American literature are increasingly grounded in trauma. Whether these literary representations are grounded in reality or in the dystopic, issues of reproduction, birth, and motherhood are being explored in a myriad of ways, often used to critique issues of gender, race, and/or class inequality. This panel aims to discuss contemporary literary representations of motherhood.This panel is especially interested in discussions of representations of the intersectional traumas of motherhood and/or motherhood in dystopic or speculative fiction. This panel welcomes and encourages broad understandings of motherhood.

This panel seeks to explore the ways in which motherhood, in all its stages, across all demographics, is represented in contemporary American literature. This panel seeks to explore the ways in which motherhood, in all its stages, across all demographics, is represented in contemporary American literature. It is particularly interested in interrogating the traumas of motherhood. With the rise in popularity of Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), its upcoming sequel The Testaments (2019), as well as novels like Erdrich’s Future Home of the Living God (2017), Dalcher’s Vox (2018), and Zumas’ Red Clocks (2018), increased literary attention has been given to issues of state controlled reproduction and maternity. Novels like Jones’ An American Marriage (2018) and Orange’s There, There (2018) deal with intersectional oppressions and how they impact the ways women chose to interact with motherhood.

Depictions of maternity in contemporary American literature are increasingly grounded in trauma. Whether these literary representations are grounded in reality or in the dystopic, issues of reproduction, birth, and motherhood are being explored in a myriad of ways, often used to critique issues of gender, race, and/or class inequality. This panel aims to discuss contemporary literary representations of motherhood.This panel is especially interested in discussions of representations of the intersectional traumas of motherhood and/or motherhood in dystopic or speculative fiction. This panel welcomes and encourages broad understandings of motherhood.