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Confronting Postmaternal ThinkingFeminism, Memory, and Care$
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Julie Stephens

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231149211

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231149211.001.0001

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Memory and Modernity

Memory and Modernity

(p.71) 3 Memory and Modernity
Confronting Postmaternal Thinking

Julie Stephens

Columbia University Press

In contrast to the previous chapter’s concern with the collective forgetting of the “nurturing mother” in reminiscences of feminists about their own mothers, this chapter focuses on questions of individual memory and whether a forgotten maternalist ethos can be detected in the early women’s liberation movement. It examines a series of recorded oral testimonies that look retrospectively at mid-twentieth-century feminism. It suggests that interpretative approaches from oral history and memory studies can work against fixed versions of feminism’s history and allow more ambivalent dialogues to emerge. These dialogues challenge some of the dominant public memories of second-wave feminism and reveal a maternalist ethos that has been overlooked in the way much of feminism has been remembered.

Keywords:   feminists, feminism, women’s liberation movement, oral testimonies, postmaternal thinking, maternialism, maternalist ethos, oral history, memory

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