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Cultural Epistemologies of Motherhood

Nkiru Nzegwu


For two consecutive academic sessions, 2001 and 2002, Harpur College of Binghamton University funded two interdisciplinary workshops to examine the social practices that play a significant role in understanding motherhood. The first workshop focused on recent works in the field of African and African Diaspora women’s studies. Though motherhood was the entry point for theoretical investigation, the workshops also examined other family-related relationships and the importance of these in the formulation of theories of identity and personhood. The following set of questions initiated participants’ discussions: What are the prevailing conceptions of motherhood in Africa, the Caribbean and the United States? What does the articulated concept of ‘mother’ tell us about family history, family identity and family cohesiveness? Discussions highlighted cultural attitudes about motherhood in several countries—Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Jamaica, Haiti, the United States and Poland—as well as the similarities and differences in mothering styles among Africans, African-Americans, and Caribbeans.

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JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies. ISSN: 1530-5686 (online).
Editors: Nkiru Nzegwu; Book Editor: Mary Dillard.

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