School of Humanities

Breastwork: maternal bodies in post-modernity

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Breastfeeding occupies something of a unique and anxious position in contemporary culture, as an inherently anarchic corporeal activity in a culture driven by control and autonomy, and a highly unpredictable impulse in a world of schedules and routine.

Overview

This study seeks to undo some of the complex meanings and histories of breastfeeding as they revolve around women’s bodies, the politics of sexuality, and the gendered use of public and private space in postmodern cityscapes.

The study brings a critical perspective to the narratives that shape breastfeeding discourses at as they are reported in the media and medical texts, idealised in images and iconography, ignored in the workplace and yet posited as a woman’s ‘choice’ by advocates and public health policy alike.

Outcomes

Books

  • Bartlett, A and Shaw R, eds, Giving Breast Milk. Toronto: Demeter Press. 2010. 
  • Bartlett, A, Breastwork: Rethinking Breastfeeding. Sydney: UNSW Press. 2005.
  • Bartlett, A. and Giles F, eds, Australian Feminist Studies, thematic issue, 19.45 (2004).

Chapters

  • Bartlett, A. ‘Breastfeeding and Time: In Search of a Language for Pleasure and Agency’ Giving Breast Milk, Ed. Rhonda Shaw and Alison Bartlett. Toronto: Demeter Press. 2010. 222-235.
  • Bartlett, A. and R. Shaw. ‘Mapping the Ethics and Politics of Contemporary Breastmilk Exchange: An Introduction’ Giving Breast Milk, Ed. Rhonda Shaw and Alison Bartlett. Toronto: Demeter Press. 2010. 1-10.
  • Bartlett, A. ‘Sex in the Seventies: 1970s Maternal Advice Manuals on Breastfeeding’ Mother Texts: narratives and counter narratives, Ed. Marie Porter and Julie Kelso. Cambridge Scholars Press. 2010. 179-190.
  • Bartlett, A. ‘Scandalous practices and political performances: breastfeeding in the city’ Mothering: Power/Oppression, Ed. Marie Porter, Patricia Short, Andrea O’Reilly. Toronto: Women’s Press. 2005. 57-73.

Refereed articles

  • Bartlett, A.‘Theory, Desire, and Maternity: At Work in Academia’ Hecate 32.3 (2006): 321-33.
  • Bartlett, A. ‘Maternal Sexuality and Breastfeeding’ Sex Education 5,1 (2005):1-11.
  • Bartlett, A. ‘Scripts & Meanings for Breastfeeding in Popular Culture’ Birth Issues 14.1 (2005): 7-12.
  • Bartlett, A. ‘Black Breasts, White Milk? Ways of representing breastfeeding and race in Australia’ Australian Feminist Studies 19.45 (2004): 341-55.
  • Bartlett, A. ‘Breastfeeding bodies and choice in late capitalism’ Hecate 29.2 (2003): 153-165.
  • Bartlett, A. ‘Breastfeeding as Headwork: corporeal feminism and meanings for breastfeeding’ Women’s Studies International Forum 25,3 (2002): 373-82.
  • Bartlett, A. ‘Public practices and political performances: breastfeeding in the city’ Continuum: journal of media and culture 16.1(2002): 111-21.
  • Bartlett, A. ‘Thinking through breasts: writing maternity’ Feminist Theory 1,2 (2000): 173-188.
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