Horrible Mothers: Representations Across Francophone North America

Loïc Bourdeau (Editor)


For too long the main narratives of motherhood have been oppressive and exclusionary, frequently ignoring issues of female identity--especially regarding those not conforming to traditional female stereotypes. Horrible Mothers offers a variety of perspectives for analyzing representations of the mother in francophone literature and film at the turn of the twenty-first century in North America, including Qu bec, Ontario, New England, and California.

Contributors reexamine the "horrible mother" paradigm within a broad range of sociocultural contexts from different locations to broaden the understanding of mothering beyond traditional ideology. The selections draw from long-established scholarship in women's studies as well as from new developments in queer studies to make sense of and articulate strategies of representation; to show how contemporary family models are constantly evolving, reshaping, and moving away from heteronormative expectations; and to reposition mothers as subjects occupying the center of their own narrative, rather than as objects. The contributors engage narratives of mothering from myriad perspectives, referencing the works of writers or filmmakers such as Marguerite Andersen, Nelly Arcan, Gr goire Chabot, Xavier Dolan, Nancy Huston, and Lucie Joubert.

Product Details

University of Nebraska Press
Publish Date
December 01, 2019
6.0 X 0.63 X 9.0 inches | 1.11 pounds
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About the Author

Loïc Bourdeau is an assistant professor of French and francophone studies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He holds the College of Liberal Arts/Louisiana Board of Regents Professorship in Francophone Studies. He is the associate editor of Études Francophones.


"This multidisciplinary collection of essays from a francophone North American context constitutes an important challenge to normalizing and oppressive discourses of motherhood that fail to take account of the much messier and often ambivalent nature of lived maternal experiences. . . . We are reminded in this collection of the dangers of the cultural idealization of mothers and the ongoing need to deconstruct normative motherhood from a feminist perspective."--Julie Rodgers, lecturer in French studies and member of the Motherhood Project, Maynooth University (Ireland)
-- (03/27/2019)