Article Title

Queer Earth Mothering: Thinking Through the Biological Paradigm of Motherhood


I consider Christine Overall’s (2012) proposal that counteracting the ecological threats born from overconsumption and overpopulation morally obligates (most) Westerners to limit their procreative output to one child per person. I scrutinize what Overall finds valuable about the genetic link in the parent-child relationship through the complementary lenses of Shelley M. Park’s (2013) project of “queering motherhood” and the ecofeminist concept of “earth mothering.” What comes of this theoretical mix is a procreative outlook I define as queer earth mothering (QEM): an interrogative attitude for identifying the ways in which anti-ecological and heteronormative ideologies seep into maternal praxis. I argue that QEM has potential to relocate the value(s) of the putative parent-child relationship, change attitudes toward adoptive motherhood for the better, and shed light on the reality that procreative decisions in affluent contexts can and will rebound with devastating environmental consequences on both present and future populations if left unabated. My hope is that with QEM as our guide for thinking through the biological paradigm of motherhood we will be in a much better position to appreciate why affluent prospective parents should (generally speaking) favour adoption over biological reproduction.

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