Mothers Gone Mad conference in New York looks at oppression and resistance

In celebration of Mother’s Day, York’s Association for Research on Mothering (ARM) and Mamapalooza will host their second annual conference, Mothers Gone Mad: Motherhood and Madness Oppression and Resistance, in New York City next month.

York Professor Andrea O’Reilly (left), ARM founder and director, will present one of four keynote addresses, “Out(law)ing Motherhood: A Theory and Politics of Maternal Empowerment for the 21st Century”. O’Reilly is the author of Toni Morrison and Motherhood: A Politics of the Heart (SUNY Press, 2004) and Rocking the Cradle: Thoughts on Motherhood, Feminism and the Possibility of Empowered Mothering (Demeter Press, 2006) and editor or co-editor of more than 10 books, including Feminist Mothering (SUNY Press, 2008) and a forthcoming encyclopedia of motherhood.

The three-day conference, running from Thursday, May 28 to Saturday, May 30 at Nola Studios, 250 West 54th St. in New York, will feature some 70 presenters and 25 panels including those on Theorizing Motherhood, Representing Motherhood and Madness, Pre-Natal and Postpartum Depression, Maternal Activism, Mothering and Mental Health, Performing Motherhood, Regulating Mothers, Writing Motherhood, Narrations on Mothering and Violence, Motherhood and Loss and Healing, and Motherhood: Oppression and Resistance.

Phyllis Chesler,, a psychology and women’s studies professor emerita at the College of Staten Island of The City University of New York and the author of Women and Madness: Fully Revised and Updated (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005) will deliver a keynote address on “Envious Mothers, Beautiful, High-Spirited Daughters: The First Step Towards Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman”. Paula Caplan, a clinical and research psychologist, author

Stephanie Wong




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, playwright and research associate at the WEB Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University, will present the keynote speech, "Who Decides If Mothers Are Crazy? From Freud’s Mother to Today’s”. Poet Alicia Ostriker, professor emerita of the Rutgers University’s English Department who is a former faculty mentor in the MFA Program in Poetry at New England College in the US, will explore “The Mother/Child Papers Revisited” in her keynote lecture. 

Mamapalooza, which connects mothers through music, art, activism and education for cultural, economic and social awareness, will have a huge array of events for Grow Your Mom Brain, a creative and lifestyles conference, running simultaneously in New York City from May 28 to 31, including four nights and three days of festival stages, music showcases, film screenings, poetry readings, theatrical presentations and more. Performances will take place at prominent New York City venues. There will be a free outdoor Mamapalooza family-friendly concert, Summer on the Hudson, Sunday, May 31 from noon until 5pm.

The Mothers Gone Mad conference is sponsored by ARM and the Motherhood Foundation. For more information or to register, visit the Mothers Gone Mad conference Web site.