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The University of Southampton
Southampton Ethics Centre

Pregnancy, Maternity, and the Self - Interdisciplinary Conference 2019 Event

21 June 2019
University of Southampton

Event details

The study of pregnancy – historically overlooked – is a newly flourishing area. However, so far academic studies (with a few exceptions) have tended to focus on pregnancy as a phenomenon in isolation, without considering the interplay of maternity and pregnancy with conceptions of the mind and the self. Although various events in recent years have given more focused attention to pregnancy, they have considered this either from a medical, philosophical or historical perspective, without bringing these ideas together or focusing on the relations between them. Similarly, study of the mind and self has been dominated historically by male perspectives, and in many cases been defined as male, with the rational (male) mind placed in binary opposition to the irrational (female) body. As such, female experience – and in particular the experiences of pregnancy and maternity – have been overlooked in studies of mind and self until recently. It is these more nuanced perspectives regarding the pregnant woman’s sense of self that we wish to explore through this conference: How does this sense of self change and develop during pregnancy? What role does the foetus play in her sense of identity, and what influence does it have on her mind-body relationship? How have ideas about these themes changed over the centuries, and what (if any) ideas are universal? How have cultural-historical perspectives on pregnancy influenced women’s sense of identity, and to what extent is the maternal self culturally constructed? This conference, taking place on Friday June 21st 2019 at the University of Southampton, aims to bring together people from different disciplines to explore various understandings of pregnancy, maternity, and the self.

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