Cultural Representations of Breastfeeding: Edited Collection

Ann Marie Short Announcement
Indiana, United States
Subject Fields
Cultural History / Studies, Humanities, Literature, Popular Culture Studies, Women's & Gender History / Studies

An examination of cultural representations of breastfeeding that attends to diffuse discourses about infant feeding, ranging from medical and anthropological to socioeconomic and cultural, all the while utilizing feminist methodologies, can facilitate an interrogation of the feminist implications of breastfeeding advocacy, including essentializing discourses about women’s bodies as the “natural” choice for infant feeding and the complex considerations women and families navigate in making decisions about infant feeding. The representation of breastfeeding in Western culture, starting with Madonna lactan art and evolving up to the 2012 Time magazine cover featuring a mother nursing her three year old son and the provocative question, “Are you mom enough?” and other current depictions of lactivist breastfeeding provide a salient context for understanding the cultural analyses to be included in this collection as part of a broader conversation about how society understands infant feeding and maternal autonomy.


The purpose of this collection is to investigate how representations of breastfeeding in literature, film, the visual arts, popular culture, and online engage with debates surrounding how infants should be fed through a lens of feminist breastfeeding advocacy. Within those parameters, we are soliciting chapter proposals that focus on any of the following:


Breastfeeding as “natural” or “perverse”

Online parenting culture (mommy/daddy blogs, social media, etc.)

Breastfeeding and adoption

Race and/or ethnicity in representations of breastfeeding

“Extended” breastfeeding (nursing past infancy)

Queer/trans breastfeeding

Fathers in breastfeeding discourse

Breastfeeding and disability studies

Breastfeeding and discourses of women “having it all.”


Please submit CV and 500-750 word abstract by June 1, 2016.


Contact information:

Ann Marie A. Short

Saint Mary's College


Abigail L. Palko

University of Notre Dame

Contact Information

Ann Marie A. Short

Saint Mary's College


Contact Email