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[Commlist] CFP for an edited anthology: "Childfree across the Disciplines: Academic and Activist Perspectives on NOT Choosing Children"
Mon Feb 25 23:02:30 GMT 2019
*Call for Chapter Proposals for Anthology*
/Childfree across the Disciplines: Academic and Activist Perspectives on
/ Not/Choosing Children/
Davinia Thornley (University of Otago, Aotearoa New Zealand)
Recently, Childfree people (Cfers) have been foregrounded in mainstream
media. More than 7% of Western women choose to remain childfree (Cf) and
this figure is increasing (Krupka, 2016). Being Cf challenges a
“particular hetero-gendered order of which the procreation imperative is
a central component “(Morison et al., 2015), occupying an uneasy
position in relation to—simultaneously—traditional academic ideologies
and prevalent social norms. After all, “if a woman is not a mother, the
patriarchal social order is in danger” (Avivi, 2017).
This collection intends to engage with (mis)perceptions about Cfers: in
media representations, in economic theory, in demographic models, in
historical documents and historiographic models, and in legal texts, to
name but a few of the areas of academic praxis that the Cf life impacts
on—and is impacted by. It unequivocally takes a stance supporting the
subversive potential of the Cf choice, particularly the “sense of
continual potential in who or what [a person] could be” (Doyle et al.,
in press). It also seeks to delineate how Cfers factor (or not) into
both previous and future academic literatures. To this end, I am
interested in submissions from academics and activists in various
disciplines and movements about the Cf life: its implications, its
challenges, its conversations, and its agency—all in relation to its
inevitableness in the 21st century.
Following are suggestions for prospective chapters; please do not
hesitate to contact me if you have additional themes/ideas and would
like to discuss these further:
* Addressing the failure of feminist theory to account for Cfers’
place in, and contributions to, progressive feminism(s), while
meeting the challenge to “develop theory that does not recreate a
maternal essence” (Hird & Abshoff, 2000).
* The role of Cf men in the Cf movement: where are they? What does it
mean to be a male Cf academic?
* Talking back to the ‘elephant in the room’: Cfers as selfish,
immature, unnatural, materialistic.
* Varying representations of Cfers in the media (Carmichael &
Whittaker, 2007), literature, and pop psychology.
* The role of the internet/social media in providing ‘(un)safe spaces’
for Cf people?
* The academic structure models and, indeed, often rewards a Cf
lifestyle. Are Cfers drawn to such workplaces and, if so, why?
* On (not) being a Cf “career woman/man”: finding alternate pathways
for our lives (Devers & Saugeres, 2014).
* Reproductive planning and birth control in Cfer family units.
* Theorizing modernity via the “separation of sexuality from the
exigencies of reproduction” (Hall, 2003).
* Cfness as a Western privilege: “Just over 40% of pregnancies
worldwide are unplanned and many of those are unwanted...the choice
to limit fertility is very much still an ideal rather than a reality
for many women” (Krupka, 2016).
* Cfers and mentoring/teaching/policy-making/activism.
* The impact(s) of risk (Lupton, 1999a: 59-85 & 1999b; Jackson &
Scott, 1999: 86-107; Wallerstein, 2000; Beck & Beck-Gernsheim, 2000:
70) and/or rational decision-making vis-a-vis exchange theory on the
Cf choice (Seccombe, 1991). What is the balance? Is balance even
* The /Idiocracy/ Debate: Satoshi Kanazawa’s claim of increased
intelligence for Cfers and the impact of their choice to remain Cf
on the future average intelligence of populations in advanced
industrial nations (2014).
CRITICAL CULTURAL STUDIES
* Raced/classed/heteronormative/gendered experiences of Cfness e.g.
enforced and voluntary sterilization; (in)equality in the treatment
of Cf women and men and between Cf women and Cf men; Cf ‘others’ and
their struggles for biological sovereignty; the role of white
privilege in Cfness (Kelly, 2009; Settle & Brumley, 2014).
* Mobilizing a Cf movement: factors that hamper, findings that help.
* Cavassing the broad social changes that have precipitated the rise
* Naming and claiming International Childfree Day: its history,
ideologies, advocates and detractors, role, and
* The role(s) of friends, support groups, and “chosen” families—both
positive and negative—in Cfers’ lives.
* The positive impact of Cfness on marital satisfaction (Twenge et
* Redefining “family”: The growing Cf demographic and its impact on
traditional academic definitions, as well as commonsense
understandings, of family.
* Voter consciousness among Cf groups.
* Aging as a Cfer in a childed world.
* Structural/cultural constraints and opportunity costs for both Cf
academics and members of the general public, including but not
limited to: pronatalist discourses (Koropeckyj-Cox & Pendell, 2007);
“matrigyno-idolatry” (Meyers, 2002); “mandatory motherhood” (Russo,
1976); and parents’ sense of distributive justice or “their
convictions that the rewards of their choice offset the sacrifices
and that marriage and children are the best route to personal
happiness” (Veevers, 1972).
* The importance and/or usefulness (or not) of the following concepts
1. reproductive individualism, or internally referential reproduction
i.e. “childbearing/rearing [choices] that primarily express the
reflexive creation of individual identity” (Hall 1993)
2. Anthony Giddens’ “pure relationship(s)” (1992; Jamieson 1999).
Seeking essays of 5000-6000 words, inclusive of references
Proposals should contain the following:
o Contributors’ contact information (name, title, affiliation,
o Chapter title
o Chapter abstract of 250-500 words that illustrate the chapter’s
a) topic/subject matter
b) methodological approach
*Proposals are due *April 1, 2019**
Proposals or questions: please email Davinia Thornley
((davinia.thornley /at/ otago.ac.nz) <mailto:(davinia.thornley /at/ otago.ac.nz)>)
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