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Mothering Queerly, Queering Motherhood

Resisting Monomaternalism in Adoptive, Lesbian, Blended, and Polygamous Families

Shelley M. Park

Publication Year: 2013

Provides a model for queering motherhood that resists racist, neoliberal, and hetero- or homonormative ideals of “good” mothering.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-7


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pp. 8-9

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pp. 10-13

I wrote this book between 2009 and 2012, but in many ways the proj-ect started long before this. Since becoming a mother, I have been immersed in thinking about motherhood and for fifteen years I have been writing about it. Some of the ideas contained here have their roots in earlier work presented or published elsewhere. Chapter 2 originates ...

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Introduction: Mothering Queerly, Queering Motherhood

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pp. 14-30

What does it mean to mother queerly? And how might such practices, if taken seriously, queer the study of motherhood? As someone who mothers outside of heteronormative contexts, I have been struck by how infrequently the scholarship of motherhood questions the hetero-normative boundaries of kinship and maternal practice. Too often, stud-...

Part I: Triangulating Motherhood

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Chapter 1: Querying a Straight Orientation: Becoming a Mother (Twice, Differently)

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pp. 33-56

I begin this book by examining my beginnings as a mother—once through adoption and then, shortly thereafter, through pregnancy and birth—as my journey toward querying and queering motherhood began with the juxtaposition of these two different routes to “having” children. As I subsequently argue, adoption is a potentially queer form of ...

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Chapter 2: The Adoptive Maternal Body: Queering Reproduction

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pp. 57-84

In her paper, “What’s Queer About Queer Breeders?” Ziv (2011) examines “the contradictory implications of queer parenting,” arguing that gay and lesbian parenting “subverts key elements of the heteronormative ideology of the family, and revolutionizes kinship” at the same time as it succumbs, perhaps, to the pressures of “normalization and ...

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Chapter 3: Queer Orphans and Their Neoliberal Saviors: Racialized Intimacy in Adoption

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pp. 85-118

As argued in the previous chapter, adoption may be viewed as a potentially queer, feminist practice of mothering. This queer perspective on adoption may make sense, however, only from the perspective of potential or actual adoptive mothers (and fathers)—including gay and lesbian adoptive parents—many of whom, like myself, are white, middle-class ...

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Chapter 4: Making Room for Two Mothers: Queering Children’s Literature

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pp. 119-150

Unlike conservative narratives of family preservation, I believe that a child’s interests are best served by “maintain[ing] as many . . . parental connections with adults who wish to maintain these bonds as is . . . feasible in any given case” (Narayan 1999, 85).1 Protecting a child’s best interests thus requires a serious adjustment of child custody laws to allow for multiple, simultaneously occurring, parenting relationships. ...

Part II: Resisting Domestinormativity

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Chapter 5: Queer Assemblages: The Domestic Geography of Postmodern Families

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pp. 153-186

To this point, I have focused largely on the triangulated mother–child– mother relationship within adoptive and other nonbiocentric families and the queer affective geographies to which it gives rise. The domestic geographies of postmodern families—whether created through open adoption or through separation and repartnerings of parents or by ...

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Chapter 6: Control Freaks and Queer Adolescents: There’s No Place Like Home

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pp. 187-218

On Christmas Day, the first winter holiday following the separation of her parents, my younger daughter proclaimed her family strange and gave us her blessing. Present at the moment of my daughter’s proclamation and blessing—in addition to myself—was my new partner, my not-yet-ex-husband, his new partner, our older daughter, Tomeka, and ...

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Chapter 7: Queering Familial Solidarity: Polymaternalism and Polygamy

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pp. 219-252

What does it mean to think of a family as a site of coalition? In speaking of coalitional families, I attribute to them three primary characteristics. First, such familial assemblages are characterized by multiplicity (or what Honig calls “ineradicable difference”). This is an ontological characteristic of coalitional families—a fact about the nature of their ...

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pp. 253-258

Around the same time I discover Tomeka is pregnant, my father is falling ill. I fly home to Canada for the winter break, during which time I visit with my bedridden, pain-wracked father, provide what assistance I can to my sister, Brenda, who has become Dad’s primary caregiver, and proofread myriad due-tomorrow college application essays for Dakota,...


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pp. 259-266


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pp. 267-288


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pp. 289-BC

E-ISBN-13: 9781438447186
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438447179

Page Count: 318
Publication Year: 2013