Teaching Tools

Martha Joy Rose

Martha Joy Rose

Welcome to Mother Studies. I am the founder of the Museum of Motherhood; an exhibition and education center dedicated to the exploration of family – past, present, and future with a focus on mothers, fathers, and families. I have worked with hundreds of interns over the years, as well as leading tours through the museum, and creating academic texts about mothers, mothering, and motherhood. I am interested in teaching students about the interdisciplinary field of Mother Studies primarily using a sociological lens, although I am not a sociologist per se. I am a an “expert” in a very particular area of investigation, namely the study of mothers from a social, psychological, philosophical, anthropological, historical, artistic, and feminist perspective. I know a little bit about all these things, and a lot about the cultural herstory of the motherhood movement itself beginning in the 1980s. I know about this because I was one of the founders of this movement, first with my band “Housewives On Prozac” and then with an international festival I created that featured mom-made talent. My first teaching job was at the Museum of Motherhood where I created a curriculum based on the study of mothers and taught it to the interns, local college and graduate students, and interested community members. Then in 2015 I went back to school and earned a Masters of Liberal Studies at CUNY, The Graduate Center. While at GC I yearned for a degree in my area of interest, but no university offered a master’s of Mother Studies, so I created an Individualized major and graduated with the degree I hoped others might wish to obtain in the future. During my time at The Graduate Center I studied “Maternal and Child Health” with Barbara Katz Rothman, “Sociology of Gender” with Hester Eisenstein, “Digital Humanities” with Mathew Gold, and “Illness, Grief, and Graphics” with Nancy K. Miller among other things.

My purpose for teaching about motherhood and the family is that I am interested in sharing critical theory that translates into practical application to better empower students on their life-long journey. Because we all come from diverse backgrounds and have unique family experiences each of us contributes to the ever expanding body of knowledge. This knowledge is both vast and personal, as well as varied and academic. The deeper our investigation goes, more questions inevitably arise. We will end up with more questions than answers. But exercises like the ones practiced in these classes will increase your understanding of the world and aid in challenging many of our assumptions. This in turn, allows us to move forward in more thoughtful ways and enables us to cultivate awareness and practice agency throughout our lives.

These teaching tools are provided to you under the creative commons license. You should cite any references used and the contents here should not be reproduced without permission.




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