Feminist theories have focused on contemporary, Western, middle-class experiences of maternity. This volume brings other mothers, from Asia and the Pacific, into scholarly view, aiming to show that birthing and mothering can be a very different experience for women in other parts of the world. The contributors document a wide variety of conceptions of motherhood, and drawing on ethnographic and historical research, they explore the relationships between motherhood as embodied experience and the local discourses on maternity. They show how the experience of motherhood has been influenced by missionaries, by colonial policies and by the introduction of Western medicine and biomedical birthing methods, and raise important questions about the costs and benefits of becoming a modern mother in these societies.
'Ram and Jolly have put together a theoretically sophisticated and densely illustrated volume ... it deserves a wide readership in anthropology and related disciplines.' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute