2019: Beyond Mothering Myths? Motherhood in an Age of Neoliberalism and Individualisation

The University of Sydney, Australia.

Camperdown Campus.

July 10th - July 12th, 2019.

Click here to Register

Click here to download 2019 Program

* Please note the program is subject to change

Registration Prices:

Full registration Concession (early bird*): $275

Full registration Standard (early bird*): $395

Full registration Concession (non-early bird): $395

Full registration Standard (non-early bird): $460

Day only rate: $160

Keynote only: $60

* Early bird pricing ends April 1

Please note that as a feminist mothering organisation AMIRCI welcome delegates to attend with their children if required. We also honour the need to provide an environment that allows uninterrupted engagement for all attendees. To facilitate this there will be a break-out room available for mothers and children. Select presentations will be screened into this room to enable continued participation by mothers and some toys/activities will be provided for young children to enjoy with parental/carer supervision. Please contact us for more details.
This conference will explore, examine, critique, theorise, and respond to key issues related to mothering in the contemporary globalised world, with a focus on neoliberalism, individualisation, and the emergence of new technologies. How motherhood is experienced, constructed, and contested in contemporary society has been conceptualised in numerous ways since Rich’s (1976) foundational work on the ‘institution’ of motherhood. These include ‘intensive mothering ideology’ (Hays, 1996), ‘the new momism’ (Douglas & Michaels, 2004), and the ‘good mother’ concept (Goodwin & Huppatz) among various others. Yet, old myths of motherhood continue to be perpetuated and mothers continue to face stigmatization and marginalization. This conference is interested in the ways motherhood exists today within social, cultural, political, and economic milieus that prioritise neoliberal and individualistic ideals, while simultaneously maintaining the expectations of intensive mothering. Topics include but are not limited to: how motherhood and individualism impact on identity, agency, self-care, and subjectivity; mothering in response to new technologies and online worlds; maternal activism and advocacy; embodied motherwork including pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding; motherhood and paid employment/volunteering; mothering of young adults and/or ageing parents; motherhood and disability; understanding family violence including surveillance and judicial systems. Submissions are welcome from, but are not limited to, scholars, students, activists, community workers, bloggers, mothers, and others who research, work or are interested in this area of scholarly and social activism.


Dr Renate Klein
Dr Klein is a long-term women's health researcher and has written extensively on reproductive technologies and feminist theory over the last thirty years. A biologist and social scientist, she was Associate Professor in Women's Studies at Deakin University in Melbourne. She is a co-founder of FINRRAGE (Feminist International Network of Resistance to Reproductive and Genetic Engineering) and an original signatory to Stop Surrogacy Now. Her latest book is Surrogacy: A Human Rights Violation (2017).
Dr Petra Bueskens
Dr Petra Bueskens is an Honorary Fellow in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne, a psychotherapist in private practice, and a freelance opinion writer. Petra writes about motherhood, gender relations, social and political theory, basic income and psychotherapy in both scholarly and popular fora. Her books include Modern Motherhood and Women’s Dual Identities: Rewriting the Sexual Contract (Routledge 2018), the edited volume Motherhood and Psychoanalysis: Clinical, Sociological and Feminist Perspectives (Demeter, 2014), and two forthcoming edited volumes Nancy Chodorow: The Reproduction of Mothering: Forty Years On with Tanya Cassidy and Australian Mothers: Historical and Sociological Perspectives with Carla Pascoe Leahy.  Her opinion pieces have appeared in New Matilda, The Conversation, The Huffington Post, Arena Magazine and more.
Prof Eva Cox AO

Prof Cox AO is an influential Australian feminist, academic, public commentator, social and political researcher, and community change agent. She has worked as an academic, political adviser, public servant, and runs a small research and policy consultancy. A sociologist by trade, she promotes ideas widely and eclectically in books, online, in journals and other media. She is sociologist, researcher, AO and ABC Boyer Lecturer on A Truly Civil Society (1995), a fellow of the Centre for Policy Development, and a professorial fellow at Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning (UTS).

Prof Andrea O'Reilly

Prof O'Reilly is Professor in the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at York University. O’Reilly is founder and director of the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement, founder and editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Motherhood Initiative, and founder and publisher of Demeter Press. She is co-editor/editor nineteen books including Feminist Perspectives on Young Mothers and Young Mothering (2019) and is author of three monographs including Matricentric Feminism: Theory, Activism, and Practice (2016). She is editor of the first Encyclopedia (3 Volumes, 705 entries) on Motherhood (2010). She is a recipient of the CAUT Sarah Shorten Award for outstanding achievements in the promotion of the advancement of women in Canadian universities and colleges, is twice the recipient of York University’s “Professor of the Year Award” for teaching excellence and in 2014 was the first inductee into the Museum of Motherhood Hall of Fame.

Past Conferences:


2017: A Feminism for Mothers [Symposium]

Monday 27th November 2017, 9am-5:30pm.

Australian Catholic University, 115 Victoria Pde, Fitzroy.


2016: Negotiating Competing Demands: 21st Century Motherhood

Eighth biennial Australian International AMIRCI Conference, July 2016.

RMIT University, Melbourne.

Download Program (pdf)


2014: Motherhood, Feminism and the Future

Seventh biennial Australian International AMIRCI Conference, July 2014.

RMIT University, Melbourne.

Selection of papers can be found in:

Journal of Family Studies, Vol. 21: Issue 3, 2015. "Motherhood, Feminisms and the Future".

Download Program (pdf)


2011: Mothers at the Margins

Sixth biennial Australian International AMIRCI Conference, April 2011.

The University of Queensland, Brisbane.

Selection of papers can be found in:

Mothers at the margins: stories of challenge, resistance and love. (2015).Edited by Lisa Raith, Jenny Jones, and Marie Porter. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Click here for Programme.


2009: The Mother and History: Past and Present

Fifth biennial Australian International AMIRCI conference, July 2009.

The University of Queensland, Brisbane.

Selection of papers can be found in:

Hecate, Vol. 36: Issue 1/2, 2010. "Focus on Mothering".

Download Program (pdf)


2007: The Mother: Images, Issues and Practices

Fourth biennial Australian International AMIRCI Conference, July 2007.

The University of Queensland, Brisbane.

Selection of papers can be found in:

Mother Texts: Narratives and Counter Narratives. (2010). Edited by Julie Kelso and Marie Porter. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Download Program (pdf)


2005: Representing and Theorising Maternal Subjectivities

Third biennial Australian International AMIRCI Conference, September 2005.

A selection of these papers can be found in:

Representing and Theorising Maternal Subjectivities. (2008). Edited by Julie Kelso and Marie Porter. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Download Program (pdf)


2002: Performing Motherhood: Ideology, Agency and Experience

Second biennial Australian International AMIRCI Conference, July 2002.

La Trobe University, Melbourne.


2001: Power/ Oppression

Inaugural biennial Australian International AMIRCI Conference, July 2001.

The University of Queensland, Brisbane.

A selection of these papers can be found in:

Motherhood: Power and Oppression (2005). Edited by Marie Porter, Andrea O’Reilly and Patricia Short. Toronto: Women’s Press.