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August 30, 2007

Call For Submissions: Essays on Motherhood

Who’s Your Mama: The Voices of Unsung Women and Mothers

Looking for women writers in the U.S. who are mothers,
trying to become mothers and who are childless by choice or circumstance

There are so many books published about the motherhood experiences of affluent, married, White women, books that often revolve around the "mommy wars," the raging debate between mothers who work and those who stay at home. The fact that this small demographic is represented in the media as the face of U.S. motherhood has effectively removed the voices and stories of the true majority of mothers from the public dialogue. The true majority includes mothers who are: women of color, low and middle
income, single, bisexual or lesbian.

This anthology proposes to gather women’s writings about motherhood that addresses race, class, sexuality, identity and intimate partnership. We have chosen to use the words women and motherhood, but it’s being used to focus on the female experience of parenting under patriarchy, not to exclusively
define it.

Gen-X/Hip Hop generation women, those born between 1965 and 1984, grew up in the aftermath of social and political revolutions of the 1960s and 1970s that sought to re-define marriage, sexuality
and motherhood. While the primary societal messages continue to trumpet traditional values and heterosexual marriage as the preferred norm, on the ground, women are actively engaged in
crafting identities and family structures (including remaining single and/or childless) that speak practically to their personal beliefs, intimate relationships and economic realities.

Demographically, this generation of mothers looks different from its predecessors. Many did not even have children until they were 25 years old or older and on average they are having only two children. Therefore in comparison to their mothers and grandmothers they are older and have fewer children to look after. Having come of age in the 1980s and 1990s these women also grew up taking feminism (and the benefits it bestowed) as a given. For Gen-X and Hip Hop generation women, they believe that they can choose to raise healthy happy children and still be true to themselves.

Unlike previous generations, Gen-X women are represented by a diversity of contexts for motherhood that include heterosexual marriages, single parenting, committed partnership and gay marriage. Furthermore we recognize that the ability of a woman to have the option to be a working mother or a stay at home mother is frequently dependent on her socio-economic standing as demonstrated by her access to informational and financial resources, nearby, reliable and affordable child care and good
fortune to work in a flexible work environment...

Furthermore, more women are consciously choosing not to have children and it is necessary to understand the remaining societal costs or the unexpected freedoms that are the consequence of
choosing to remain childless. Lastly, every mother was someone before she had children. Therefore while motherhood is a significant life event, this book wants to examine how women develop other aspects of themselves alongside their identities as mothers, including their careers, friendships (particularly with
other women), sexual personas, intimate relationships, familial and community bonds.

Many Gen-X women, although they were brought up and encouraged to "have it all" have a thorny relationship with feminism. Many understand that the freedoms that they take for granted, including the right to: work in nontraditional jobs; receive equal work for equal and; have reproductive choice were the
result of feminist agitation. Nevertheless while many young women eagerly embrace the feminist label, far more equate feminism with angry, unattractive, affluent, man-hating, White women and do not
believe that feminism represents their perspectives on religion, sexuality, culture, class or race. We are interested in ascertaining whether a woman choosing to become a mother or not is influenced by her identification with feminism (even if that identification is oppositional) and its perceived tenets, how
does a woman’s acceptance (or rejection) of feminism or its principles inform her mothering or extend her focus on social and political issues such as parental leave, affordable childcare, court enforced child support, etc?.

We are seeking honest essays written in the first-person from Gen X/Hip Hop generation women of all classes, races, sexualities and religions. Submissions from emerging as well as established
writers, activists, scholars and everyday women will be accepted. The personal narrative should record how your decision about motherhood empowered you and in some way made you reconsider a
way of being, a personal truth, political ideology or cultural norm or community standard that you have never previously questioned. Additionally, we are interested in essays that explore how new definitions of motherhood and female empowerment are pushing women toward new thinking around social and political change. We welcome and will consider new ideas in addition to the topics suggested below.

the emotional and financial costs of motherhood

mothering and sexual identity

how becoming a mother changes your politics

daycare and childcare

single motherhood

lesbian or bisexual mothering

motherhood and marriage/committed partnership

gender and care of the children

health care and motherhood

motherhood and poverty

what does having it all really mean?

what makes a feminist mother different from others?

balancing motherhood and work

discrimination against mothers in the workplace

negotiating societal expectations about motherhood

race, class and motherhood

raising bi-racial children or children of a different race

childless because you do not want children

childless because you do not have a committed partner (and you do
not want to be a single mom)

childless because you believe that having a child would adversely
affect your career or finances


adoptive mothers/guardians/foster parents

incarcerated mothers

DEADLINE: February 1, 2008

WORD COUNT/PAGE LIMITS: Personal Narratives - 20 pages/5000 words.

FORMAT: Essays must be typed, double-spaced, and paginated. Please include your address, phone number, email address, and a short bio on the last page. No simultaneous submissions. Previously published essays will be considered if the writer owns the copyright. Essays will not be returned. Essays will not be published without the writer's consent.

-SUBMITTING: Electronic submissions are preferred. Send essay electronically as a Word format file (with .doc extension) to Yvonne@YvonneBynoe.com. Write "Motherhood Anthology" in the subject line. If email is not possible, mail two (2) copies of the essay to Yvonne Bynoe at PO Box 14068, Washington, DC 20044 attn: Motherhood Anthology.

Please direct any inquiries to info@yvonnebynoe.com.


Yvonne Bynoe is a Senior Fellow at the Future Focus 2020 Center at Wake Forest University and the author of Stand & Deliver: Political Activism, Leadership and Hip Hop Culture and the Encyclopedia of Rap and Hip Hop Culture.

PUBLISHER: Soft Skull Press (New York)

REPLY: Please allow until March 1, 2008 for a response. If you have not received a response by then, please assume your essay has not been selected. It is not possible to reply to every submission personally.

August 19, 2007

Call for Proposals / Papers

Call for Proposals
Tenth Annual Women's History Month Conference
Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY
Friday-Saturday March 7-8, 2008

Black Power, Black Feminism: Black Women's Activism and Development of Womanist/Feminist Consciousness in the Era Black Power.

Keynote Speaker: Chana Kai Lee, author of For Freedom's Sake: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer

Traditionally scholarship on the Black Power era has characterized this time of renewed cultural and political nationalism and activism as an almost exclusively male domain. This has begun to change. Not only have scholars uncovered a long tradition of black women's activism before and during the Black Power era, but they have begun reevaluating the entire era as a result. Part and parcel with this period of activism has been the development of a Black feminist consciousness. If scholars have seen the seeds of this consciousness far earlier, the sixties and seventies were notable for organizing that recognized inextricable and complicated ties between categories of race class and gender. This conference seeks to sustain and enhance new scholarship that redefines the era, bringing the work and effort of women to the center...

We invite scholars, artists, writers, and activists to submit proposals for papers, readings, workshops, and performances. Proposals for full panels are especially welcomed.

Topics may include but are not limited to:
Women's local and national grassroots organizing
Women in the Black Arts Movement
Women and Nationalism
Women's participation in Black Power organizations
Revolutionary Black Feminism
Coalition building amongst women of color
Legacies of Black feminist organizing: third wave and hip hop feminism

Please send a brief abstract and c.v./resume to:
Tara James
Women's History Graduate Program
Sarah Lawrence College
Bronxville, NY 10708
Phone: 914-395-2405 Fax: 914-395-2663
Email: tjames@mail.slc.edu
(email submissions are preferred)
Deadline: December 1, 2007

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RACE, SEX, POWER: New Movements in Black & Latina/o Sexualities

April 11-12, 2008
University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

Over the past decade, racialized representations of Black and Latina/o sexualities as perverse Others have been systematically challenged by scholars and political and cultural activists from myriad disciplinary fields. The steady emergence of new exhibitions, performances, media, writings, virtual communities, and activist groups bear witness to the importance of how Black and Latina/o people love and express themselves sexually.

This conference brings attention to these “bodies of knowledge? – in their biological, social, cultural, and political forms – in order to rethink how the relationships between race, sexuality, and power has, and continues to, shape Black and Latina/o sexualities in the U.S. This conference intends to highlight debates, ideas, and practices relating to the meanings assigned to black and brown bodies in the U.S., how black and brown people experience their socially regulated bodies, and how those bodies are positioned vis-à-vis knowledge, truth, politics, and history.

Bringing together activists, artists, independent scholars, faculty, practitioners, and students from a broad range of disciplines and fields, the conference aims to address issues of sexual desire and pleasure, cultural activism, black-brown dialogues and coalition-building, creating and performing sexual identities, human rights and social justice, and citizenship, among other topics.

The conference venue presents a unique opportunity for the participants to examine critically the state of empirically grounded, historicized, and theoretically informed inquiries and practices around Black and Latina/o bodies and sexualities. Equally important in this moment then, is the recognition and scrutiny of how these interventions have made an impact on the fields of African American studies; Latina/o studies; women’s and gender studies; sexuality studies; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer studies; as well as mainstream disciplines like literature, sociology, history, public health, psychology, art history, public policy, etc.

Participants from all disciplinary fields and perspectives who wish to engage with these issues are welcome. Through this interdisciplinary forum, the conference seeks to create a diverse intellectual community, to foster healthy debate about the intersections of race and sexuality, and to provide unique opportunities for networking and professional development. In turn, such working relationships can better inform public policy, present and future scholarly agendas, and community needs.

Interested participants may submit an abstract (approx. 300 words) for: 1) individual papers; 2) panels and roundtables (approx. 4 persons); 3) poster presentations; or 4) visual presentations (film, performance, video, photography displays). If applicable, please include any technology requests, space needs as well as low-resolution images of your work, in addition to your abstract.

Please submit abstracts (as well as any queries) to Darrell Moore, Ph.D. at RACESEXPOWER2008@DEPAUL.EDU. The deadline for submission of abstracts is September 15, 2007.


- Art, Music, Literature and Censorship
- Black-Brown Dialogues and Coalitions
- Black and Latina/o Sexualities and Prison Culture
- Critical Approaches to Activism
- Cultural Productions and Activism
- Desire, Eroticism, Fantasy and Pornography
- Disability and Desir/Ability
- Family and Kin Relationships
- Geography and Sexual Identities and Practices
- Health and Sexual Decision Making
- Health Care and Health Education
- Human Rights, Sexual Rights, Civil Rights
- (Im)Migration, Diaspora and Transnationalism
- Intersections of Race, Sexuality and Spirituality
- Making and Un/Making of Erotic Black and Latina/o Bodies
- Mass Media Representations of Black and Latina/o Sexualities
- Philosophy
- Psychoanalytical Approaches to Black and Latina/o Sexualities
- Public Sex, Private Sex
- Queer Black and Latina/o Feminisms
- Queering Spaces, Producing Sexualities
- Race, Sex and the State
- Sex Work/Sexuality at Work
- Racialized Bodies and Data Collection
- Sexual Citizenship
- Sexual Desire and Knowledge in the Archives
- Sexual Economies, Sexual Communities
- Sexual Health and Pleasure
- Sexual Initiations/Rites Of Passage/Sexual Scripts
- Sexual Attractiveness and Intimacies
- Sexual Rights, Civil Rights and Citizenship
- Social Justice and Public Policy
- Technology, Virtuality, and Racialized Sexualities
- Urban Sexual Cultures
- Visual Cultures


Chicago State University
City University of New York
Columbia College Chicago
DePaul University
Loyola University Chicago
Northwestern University
Roosevelt University
University of Chicago
University of Connecticut
University of Illinois at Chicago

August 11, 2007

I'm UMN homepage news!


August 3, 2007

If only minutes earlier...

I live very close to the 35W bridge as much of the U community does. I traveled over this bridge numerous times a day. We were headed home and crossed only a few minutes before the bridge fell to the river. Exiting to home we saw dozens of police cars and fire trucks race past. I saw a police car towing a boat. I told my friend that something serious must be happening, thinking how much the volume of emergency vehicles whizzing by reminded me of 9/11.

Arriving home, I turned on the news. Needless to say, sadness, devastation and also some inspiration.


I keep thinking about all the what-ifs. How would I get the baby unstrapped from the car seat. Would Tiana be able to get out quickly enough from the very back of the 'Burban? Would this? Would that? I talked to her about emergency situations and am even reconsidering the initial no I gave when my nearly ten-year old asked for her own cell phone (most of her friends have their own). We watched the news incessantly and finally turned it off.


Chris Brown is (again) blasting from the living room. We've cleared the furniture for the upcoming 10th bday celebration that will put a dozen sleeping bags filled with pre-teens in my house. I hear the playstation going:


The phone calls and emails filled with concern and love are subsiding. I feel special, important and valuable to a lot of people.

All of this has sparked my energy. There's a reason why I'm here. Thanks to all the heavens, those that watch over me and my children, and the special energy that sits on my shoulder and gets me through the day.

TT passed level 5 and is now in Level 6 swim lessons! Her teacher said she's a strong swimmer and should consider swim team. Why is swim team $75/month? That's $900/year. I'm taking up the collection plate. Please help me help my daughter achieve all destined for her.



Donate to the Rachel is a poor, broke, grad student with an awesome daughter who needs $900 for swim team this year fund!:

Love. Peace. Blessings. Hope.
Tiana and Little Steve a.k.a. "Bubba", July 2007

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It's nap-time right now so I better get working.