Early Modern Maternities

We are soliciting abstracts for an edited volume on the topic of maternity in Early Modern Iberia and the Americas (pre-1800).

The editors welcome approaches from interdisciplinary perspectives. Much attention has been given to mothers in a European perspective, this is the first volume to specifically address motherhood with a purely Iberian focus within the peninsula and its maritime empire. Although we will be considering studies on the Virgin Mary as a mother figure, in this volume we give preference to those accounts as lived experiences of mothers and/or surrogate mothers.

The editors hope to broaden our understanding of the experience of motherhood in Early Modern Iberia and the Americas, from the act of giving birth and lactation (by mothers themselves or wet nurses), to the experiences of menstruation and miscarriage, and the lived emotions related to becoming a mother (before and after birth), including the rejection or anxiety of being a mother. In this sense, we are seeking historical accounts (preferably in first person) as well as literary and artistic, theological, moral, medical discussions or representations of motherhood (including fictional narratives of motherhood, midwifery treatises, and medical or religious prescriptive literature about being or becoming a mother). This volume will consider the lived experiences of motherhood across all spectrums of social hierarchies (e.g. slave women, peasants, urban women, aristocrats and queens), and throughout the Spanish Empire.

DEADLINES: To be considered for inclusion, send a 300-400 word abstract, a one page CV and a short biography to Emily Colbert Cairns ( and Nieves Romero-Díaz ( before September 15th, 2021.

If your abstract is accepted, you will be contacted within 2 months and your final essay will have to be submitted by March 31, 2022. We are seeking articles in English between 6,000 to 8,000 words, and they must follow MLA Handbook 9th edition. Please note that an invitation from the co-editors to submit a full chapter is not a guarantee of publication, as all chapters and the edited volume will undergo both internal and external peer review. Please circulate this CFP widely, and with scholars and colleagues who might be interested in participating.