University of Erfurt

University of Erfurt


Mothering(s) and Religion 16.07.2019 - 17.07.2019

Internationaler Workshop unter der Leitung von Giulia Pedrucci.

  • Location: Steinplatz 2 (Forschungsgebäude 2)
  • Organizer: Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien
  • Category: Workshop
  • Audience: öffentlich

If you wish to attend, please contact no later than July 9: Giulia Pedrucci (

For more information, please contact:
Giulia Pedrucci (

In this third and final workshop we will focus particularly on the religious roles of the “mother” in the child’s life after the perinatal phase and until adulthood, as well as on the less fortunate cases in which the offspring dies before becoming adult. In this regard, the distinction made by Susan Starr Sered (1994) between “womAn as symbol” (e.g., images of goddesses and normative stereotypes created by male religious authorities) and “womEn as agents” (real practice, historical mothers), and the distinction made by Adrienne Rich (1976) between “Motherhood as institution” and “Motherhood as experience” (women’s experience of and relation to her own reproductive capacities) are particularly relevant here. In fact, evidence suggests a widespread gap between normative representation and actual practice. While the first two workshops dealt with physiological functions (pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding) that only a woman – mother-to-be or newly mother – can perform, this third workshop stresses that the rearing of a child shifts the focus from biology to society. Therefore, it is necessary to define what “mother” is. In order to do so, we use Sara Ruddick’s articulation of the three demands of maternal thinking –– preservation, growth, and social acceptance –– that are met by the three practices of preservative love, nurturance, and training (Ruddick 1989:17). Preservation has to be understood as the most compelling demand. As Ruddick suggests, “mother” is better understood as a verb (to mother) rather than as a feminine substantive. A “mother” is anyone who engages in maternal practice and makes this a central part of their life. Mother can, thus, be gender-inclusive. 



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