This is a work for the mothers: Strategic Maternalism Against the Far Right featuring Lorna Bracewell INT 100 approved

Thursday, April 4, 2024
4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Allendale Campus
Alumni, Community, Faculty, Staff, Students

Lorna Bracewell

Recent debates over public school curricula, including “anti-CRT” initiatives and attacks on “gender ideology,” have led to a reinvigoration of maternalist politics in the United States. “Moms,” whether “for Liberty,” “Rising,” or “Demanding Action,” are entering the political arena to advocate for everything from red-flag laws to book bans. This recent uptick in the politicization of “moms” presents a challenge for feminists who have long been divided over maternalist political strategies.

While some have seen great feminist potential in maternalist politics, others have critiqued it as insufficiently political or dangerously essentialist. In this talk, Lorna Bracewell will revive these debates to urge feminists to undertake a strategic reclamation of motherhood to counter the mom-led campaigns of the far-right. While some forms of maternalist politics are ill-suited to feminist ends insofar as they impose on all women, by dint of a specious maternal essence, an obligation to mother, alternative, anti-essentialist forms of maternalism are viable.

This talk by Lorna Bracewell, Associate Professor of Political Science, Flagler College, will focus on one possible model for a credibly feminist maternalism found in the writings and speeches of nineteenth-century feminist Victoria Woodhull. In a moment when reactionary politicizations of motherhood abound, contemporary feminists can be well served by a concrete historical example of a feminist who cast “maternal duty” as an obligation to fight against intersecting hierarchies of race, gender, sex, and class and for robust alternatives to the private patriarchal family. Sponsored by the Political Science Department and the Joseph Stevens Freedom Fund.

INT 100 approved

Location Information

Room 2270, Kirkhof Center

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Contact Information

[email protected]


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This event was added to the calendar by Kristen Krueger-Corrado ( on Friday, March 15, 2024 and was last updated on Wednesday, April 3, 2024 at 9:07 a.m.