"Conceptions of Pregnancy" explores narratives that articulate pregnancy beyond the bounds of "normative," American reproductive politics. By enlisting these narratives, and focusing on the narrative substance of pregnancy itself, I argue that pregnancy can be refigured as a significantly critical position by which to critique lingering ideas of the Enlightenment subject and embodiment. This dissertation covers select literary texts from the antebellum era through the 21st century that encounter significant historical contexts and, in response, re-shape pregnancy and maternity toward this radical end: slave women and transgressive motherhood in the wake of the Civil War; the "gaps in people's lacks" or marginalized "pregnancies of the southern US, spanning the years of the Great Depression through the Civil Rights era, with the particular regional and national strain of eugenic classism and racism that directed women's reproductive choices; and the Second Wave and Third Wave feminists' intersections with Critical Disability Studies in the late 20th and early 21st centuries at the site of pregnancy.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. June 2014. Major: English. Advisor: Lois B. Cucullu. 1 computer fuile (PDF); vi, 128 pages.
McWhorter, Rachel Joyce.
Conceiving pregnancy as narrative(s): transgressive maternities and disability in American reproductive politics.
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