Recommended resources from our library

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Remembering Women Murdered by Men: Memorials Across Canada
The Cultural Memory Group (Christine Bold, Sly Castaldi, Ric Knowles, Jodie McConnell and Lisa Schincariol) (Sumach Press, 2006)

Women are murdered by men in Canada every day in horrific numbers: from the approximately 500 Aboriginal women missing and murdered in Canada over the past 20 years, to the 14 women murdered at l’École Polytechnique in Montréal on December 6, 1989, to the everyday acts of femicide, so commonplace and often so casual that they barely make the news. Feminist memorializing of women victims of violence is a key part in preventing those murders from becoming mere numbers or being denied. Beyond the December 6 memorials, there are over 30 permanent monuments built in cities across Canada. The authors identify where these monuments can be found, who they remember, and the communities that built them. The importance of this book is that it speaks to these acts of remembering by providing context for how women are remembered, and why remembering them is so important.

 

With Child: Substance Use During Pregnancy: A Woman-centred Approach
Susan C. Boyd & Lenora Marcellus (Fernwood Publishing, 2007)

This book brings together a number of Canadian authors who are working and writing about substance use and pregnancy, mothering, harm reduction and woman-centred services. All the contributors are directly involved in providing and managing services. The overriding theme is that of compassionate care to all pregnant women, mothers and their children, with contributors proposing that drugs are only one factor among many that shape pregnancy and motherhood, and although drug use is a risk, it is a manageable one.

With Child is an excellent resource for both practitioners and researchers, providing valuable information about maternal drug use, harm reduction, best practices and policy. It also provides a groundbreaking critical and feminist template for organizations in a variety of fields including nursing, social work, medicine, public health, child development and addictions.

 

Maternal Theory
Andrea O'Reilly, ed. (Demeter Press, 2007)

In the last 10 years, the topic of motherhood has become an established field of scholarly inquiry. This Reader brings together 50 chapters of the most essential readings in maternal theory. The chapters, arranged chronologically, theorize motherhood from three perspectives: motherhood as experience/role, motherhood as institution/ideology, and motherhood as identity/subjectivity.

A highlight of this Reader is its attention to diversity as Chicana, Latina, African American and Aboriginal motherhood theories are represented, as well as theories concerned with mothers with disabilities, single mothers, working class mothers, adoptive and young mothers. Bringing together writers whose maternal concepts have shaped the way we think about motherhood, this Reader includes works from Adrienne Rich, bell hooks, Nancy Chodorow, Sara Ruddick, Baba Copper, Patricia Hill Collins, Marianne Hirsh, Sharon Hays, Susan Maushart, Ann Crittenden, Daphne de Marneffe, Ariel Gore, Kim Anderson, Audre Lord, Alice Walker and many more. Concepts such as the distinction between motherhood versus mothering, the reproduction of mothering, maternal thinking, homeplace, radical mothering and other-mothering are addressed in this first ever comprehensive anthology on maternal theory.

 

“Until Our Hearts Are On the Ground”: Aboriginal Mothering, Oppression, Resistance and Rebirth
D. Memee Lavell-Harvard and Jeannette Corbiere Lavell, eds (Demeter Press, 2006)

Aboriginal women’s experiences of mothering exist within a large range, between traditional and modernized models of motherhood. Yet, within these differing styles lies the shared experience of being different from the dominant culture, which, the authors in this volume highlight, has a significant impact on the ability to mother as one sees fit, according to one’s own values and traditions.

The Aboriginal mother who adheres too closely to her traditions has historically found it difficult, if not impossible, to meet the standards of the “good mother” as set out by the dominant patriarchal culture. Yet, Aboriginal women have historically, and continually, mothered in a way that is different from the prescribed norm. This can only serve to empower not only Aboriginal women, but all women. The authors have assembled 17 essays written by Aboriginal women, to honour and to examine the multiplicity of Aboriginal mothering.

 

Rocking the Cradle: Thoughts on Motherhood, Feminism and the Possibility of Empowered Mothering
Andrea O’Reilly (Demeter Press, 2006)

It can be argued that motherhood is an identity or social role imposed on mothers. Certainly, there are oppressive and empowering aspects of maternity, and there exists a complex relationship between the two. In response to this, feminist research on motherhood has informed the ways in which we can challenge patriarchal motherhood and create feminist mothering. In this collection of essays on motherhood and mothering, written over the last 15 years, the author examines these issues as someone who has spent a great deal of time thinking about motherhood as a writer, scholar, researcher, teacher, director, publisher and mother.

 

I’m Pregnant! A Week-by-week Guide (Canadian Edition)
Lesley Regan (Dorling Kindersley, 2007)

Bookstores are quite saturated with pregnancy books, but most of them appear to belong to one of two opposite camps: those written by the medical professionals or those written by the natural childbirth movement. Neither of these camps is wrong, and neither is right, but they both often tend to succeed in making women feel anxious or intimidated by suggesting that there is a wrong way and a right way to experience pregnancy. This book tries to bridge the gap between the two camps by providing clear, comprehensive information, without an obvious agenda. The book itself is arranged chronologically, moving from conception through each week of pregnancy to delivery and post-natal issues and care.

As the Canadian edition, special care has been taken to include only correct information on the Canadian health system. However, this book falls short of representing all women; there are very few images of women of colour, and there is an assumption that all relationships are heterosexual in nature.

 

A Change of Plans: Women’s Stories of Hemorrhagic Stroke
Sharon Dale Stone (Sumach Press, 2007)

There is a growing academic literature about the experience of surviving stroke, but this literature rarely highlights the issue of gender. When women’s experiences are discussed, they tend to be subsumed under those of men. A focus on women only is a way of positing women’s experiences, rather than men’s, as normative, and allows both women and men to appreciate what surviving stroke can look like from women’s points of view. In this work, the author has assembled 11 stories of women who have survived hemorrhagic stroke, and documents their experiences. This collection is a contribution to literature not only about women’s health, but also, and more importantly, about women’s life experiences.

 

Absolutely Safe: A Documentary Film
by Carol Ciancutti-Leyva (Amaranth Productions)

A compassionate and compelling look at the debate over the safety of breast implants, Carol Ciancutti-Leyva, in her directorial debut, begins from the personal (for nearly 30 years Ciancutti-Leyva's own mother, Audrey Ciancutti, has suffered from illnesses she believes are related to her ruptured silicone breast implants). Ciancutti-Leyva documents both sides of the debate; on the one side is Den ée Dimiceli, a healthy vibrant young woman from Houston, Texas, who has made the decision to have breast implants after years of insecurity over her breast size; and on the other side is Wendy Myers, a woman who was once healthy and energetic before having silicone breast implants in the 1980s. Myers believes that her health problems (dizziness, fatigue, joint pain, hair loss and nipple discharge) were caused when her breast implants ruptured in a car accident.

Also, on either side of the debate are Dr. Franklin Rose, a respected and experienced board-certified plastic surgeon in the United States who believes that breast implants, both silicone and saline, are safe products, while Dr. Edward Melmed, a unique board-certified plastic surgeon in the United States (because he is one of the few plastic surgeons who is willing to remove breast implants without replacing them), believes that breast implants are making women sick. Ciancutti-Leyva gently guides the viewer through the double-speak of the world of cosmetic surgery to expose a deeper mourning that evolves from the realization that women's bodies are still the sites of violation with impunity.