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To Build a House: MotherSpace — Agency & Power (1/3)

  • 540 West Palm St. Altadena, CA 91001 United States (map)

To Build a House: MotherSpace is a series of 3 workshops situated around the concept of “MotherSpace” as explored in “Motherhood and Space: Configurations of the Maternal Through Politics, Home, and the Body,” edited by Sarah Hardy and Caroline Wiedmer and specifically, as coined in chapter two, “MotherSpace: Disciplining through the Material and Discursive” by Marsha Marotta. Marotta “examines the role that space plays in creating and sustaining power relations involving mothers, with particular attention to how material or built spaces, and discursive spaces interact” (Marotta, p. 15, 2005). We hope to better understand how this space works and how our agency as political actors can and have reshape(d) MotherSpace as a powerful force for care. Special attention will be paid to the geography of everyday activities that reveal the experiences and power of those typically underrepresented in patriarchal, capitalist narratives.

September 17, 2018 - RSVP
Workshop 01 —Agency & Power: In which we will attempt to name the systems of oppression that restrict the movement and power over mothers and caretakers whose activity is often relegated to domestic space. We will explore how domestic space can and has been activated as a space for revolutionary change. In particular, we will discuss the distinction between 1. White, middle-class ideals that treat domestic space as a negative binding agent and  2. How women of color have successfully (and for a long time) used domestic space as a powerful positive binding agent that supports, strengthens, and empowers community.

October 22, 2018
Workshop 02 — Resistance
: In which we use historical precedents set by radical women whose practice as caretakers have refused to allow outside forces shape their communities. We will draw heavily from the article, “Chicana Strategies for Success and Survival: Cultural Poetics of Environmental Justice from the Mothers of East Los Angeles,” by Kamala Platt in which MELA engage(d) in “transformative strategies of of resistance” and “Mothers of East Los Angeles,” by Mary Pardo. We will tease out the language, symbols, and processes that these caretakers have successfully used to wrest autonomy from power based on the notion that (groups like MELA) have transformed the definition of ‘mother’ to include militant political opposition to state-proposed projects they see as adverse to the quality of life in the community.

November 26, 2018
Workshop 03 — Reimagining
: In which we will take strategies identified in the two previous workshops and begin to organize a blueprint for seeing MotherSpace as a radical, loving, and caring model for organization and for application to our daily activities and experiences.

Each workshop will be approximately 3 hours and will take place once a month from September-November, 2018. A Mountain House representative will lead a discussion during each workshop, will encourage attendees to engage in participatory note taking, wherein ideas, thoughts, and quotes will be written on banners hung along the walls of the meeting location.

To Build a House: MotherSpace is part of a series of discussion/workshops held with other groups — the findings of which will be published in a text that ties together the intersections between each conversational set as it relates to building a “house” as a container for the act of loving and nurturing individuals and communities as radical practice. The text will also include multiple blueprints for building that renegotiate the spaces we inhabit in order to dismantle systems of oppression and provide the nurturing space for solidarity with one another as we envision a better world.

Participants will be asked for their consent to record the conversations.

Later Event: October 3
Survivor's Dinner