**9th March 2010, Mary Evans, Emeritus Professor, (University of Kent)
'Listen with Mother: Love, Hate and the Maternal in the Twentieth Century'**

Life Cycles Seminar Series, Institute of Historical Research
Senate House, London WC1E
Tuesdays, 5.15pm, Pollard Room

Abstract:Mothers are the people through whom the majority of us learn to live inthe world. They are also, and again for most of us, individuals whom wedearly love and value. But mothers are not a-historical, nor are theyexperienced in ways which are universally positive. Indeed, many mothersare women who are feared by their children and from whom separation isgreatly desired. This paper explores some of the possible meanings ofmotherhood in the past fifty years: the mother who has been changed bysocial circumstances and who is subject to diverse social expectations andyet is a person who stands at the centre of our culture. Two arguments arecentral to this exploration: the ways in which the needs of motherand child conflict and how those conflicts are resolved and secondly thepossibilities (both positive and negative) of more diverse forms ofmotherhood which arise from changing patterns of sexual relationships. Asthe family continues to be a matter of intense of political debate, thispaper also asks the question of why we appear to be so pre-occupied withthe absence of fathers in families, rather
than the presence of mothers.


Dr Ofra Koffman (Goldsmiths College) o.koffman@gold.ac.ukDr
Mary Clare Martin (University of Greenwich) m.c.h.martin@gre.ac.ukDr
Leonard Schwarz (University of Birmingham) l.d.schwarz@bham.ac.uk