(notes from the launch party for the brand new eJournal, Studies in the Maternal)
My involvement with MaMSIE has been revelatory for me. I am new to academia, and thus new to academic research networks, but to have the chance to be involved with a network that is so profoundly interdisciplinary has been very important to me.
All too often practitioners creative writers and artists and performers are left out of the mix. But, for many of us, our practice is as informed by current and past debates around the maternal as that of the most assiduous ethnographer or social scientist.
A good short story, like Helen Simpson’s story, CafÃ© Society, film, performance, or exhibition can tell us a great deal about our own conflicts and ambiguities around the maternal, on both a personal and an intellectual level. Griselda Pollock’s piece on Bracha Ettinger demonstrates this vividly; most theorists are informed by the everyday in much the same as creative artists.
Each and every one of the pieces in the new eJournal from MaMSIE, Studies in the Maternal, is, for me, a novelist’s or story-teller’s dream come true from Rachel Thomson’s extraordinary case study of two generations of women and their attitudes toward the maternal, to Gail Lewis’s lyrical examination of mother and daughter and race. The stories here are pithy and dense with meaning.
And it is fascinating, and gratifying, in the year 2009, when it is almost normal to pay a surgeon to alter your face and body for no actual medical reason, to inhabit an intellectual space where feminism, as in Lisa’s interview with Lynne Segal, is examined and discussed through the prism of history without the need to be continually explain, rationalise, and excuse the concept.
Lisa and Sigal have brought both MaMSIE, the network, and this new Journal to fruition with wonderful grace.
But most of all, it’s important to say that this first issue of Studies in the Maternal is a Very Good Read. I recommend it!