Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Closure of the Association for Research on Mothering

Please read the following and then write a letter of protest to the emails below. Please also forward to your networks - let's get this out into the feminist blogosphere. You should know that ARM has been publishing work by and about mothers of color, queer mothers, and mothers with disabilities; it has worked hard to support the work of all those who mother and who study mothering.

March 2, 2010

Dear ARM Members and Friends,

I am writing with some very sad news concerning the Association for Research on Mothering, The Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering and Demeter Press. Due to York University’s continued refusal to provide base funding to the association, its journal and press, we will be closing ARM May 1, 2010. The Executive Officer of the Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies (FLAPS) has assured us that all membership and subscriptions for 2010 and beyond will be reimbursed on a pro-rated basis.

Please find below information on 1) the context of; reasons for this decision; 2) whom to contact with your questions, concerns and comments; 3) the implications of such for ARM’s various research activities.

The Association for Research on Mothering was founded in 1998, its journal in 1999, and its press in 2006. Over these twelve years ARM’s accomplishments have been many and diverse including: 35 international conferences, including conferences in New York City and in Puerto Rico and one recently planned for Portugal in 2011; 22 journal issues and ten Demeter Press titles published (with another 15 Demeter Press titles in production or under contract); half a million dollars in external funding; a paid membership base of more than 500 individuals/institutions (including 110 library subscriptions) from 25 plus countries each year; a large and vibrant Australian “arm of ARM” (that has hosted 5 international conferences), ARM journals and Demeter press titles sold in bookstores across Canada and on Amazon; Demeter Press titles used as course texts in university classrooms across Canada and the United States; extensive media coverage including a front page story in the National Post in 2006; many national and international research projects and partnerships including the SSHRC funded project on Young Mothers and Empowerment Programming with ten research partners from 5 countries; co-producer of a documentary on the 21st Motherhood Movement; co-founder of the International Mothers Network (IMN) now with 120 members worldwide and co-founder of the Museum of Motherhood. ARM is recognized as the leading association and publication on motherhood worldwide and indeed as an important organization in Women’s Studies scholarship more generally. A Google search of the “Association for Research on Mothering”, for example, yields 225,000 hits while the “Canadian Women’s Studies Association”, (Canada’s only and long-standing national association of Women’s Studies) yields only 70,900 hits. That ARM, a relatively new research association and one focused specifically on the topic of motherhood yielded three times more hits than the Women’s Studies Association of Canada is indeed significant and speaks to the centrality and prominence of the association. For more information on ARM, its journal and press please visit our website at

ARM receives NO funding from York University though in recent years York has provided a small office for ARM and some teaching release for myself as director (and does provide accounting and financial services). ARM, as with all research associations and scholarly journals and as a nonprofit organization, requires some institutional support to cover its operating costs. Since ARM has received no institutional support it has incurred a deficit most years though in the last 4 out of 5 years ARM has made a small profit or broken even. In the last 6-7 years I have met many times with various university officials to request 20,000 dollars in institutional support either in the form of a grant or by covering some of ARM’s operational costs such as student wages, postage or printing or by providing an annual Graduate Assistantship. The answer has always been an emphatic no. In the fall of 2009 the situation reached a crisis point when the associate dean of research of ARM’s new faculty (FLAPS) froze our accounts as a result of ARM’s deficit and in the last three weeks has forced the suspension of all of ARM’s research activities including the cancellation of the May conference in New York and the production of the current journal issue and forthcoming Demeter Press title. With York’s refusal to provide some funding or to cover some of ARM’s operational costs and its recent decision to freeze our accounts and suspend its research activities, I see no other choice but to close ARM. I believe that ARM’s many achievements make ARM deserving of institutional support and have done my utmost to convince York of this but York remains steadfast in its argument that ARM must operate on a cost-recovery basis with no institutional support, (though York’s many research centres receive far more in university funding than ARM is requesting and do far less in research activities).

I ask that any comments or questions on the forced closure of ARM be directed to the following individuals (please cc;
Associate Dean of Research, FLAPS, Barbara Crow,
Executive Officer, FLAPS, Felim Greene,
Associate Dean, External Relations, FLAPS, Moghissi Haideh,
Dean, FLAPS, Martin Singer,
Vice President, Research and Innovation, Stan Shapson,
Associate Vice President Research, Social Sciences and the Humanities, David Dewitt,
Vice-President Academic & Provost, Patrick Monahan,
Director, Office of Research Services, David Phipps,
President and Vice Chancellor, Mamdouh Shoukri,

Membership and Subscriptions:
ARM will no longer be accepting memberships or subscriptions for 2010 and beyond. All paid 2010 and beyond memberships will be reimbursed on a pro-rated basis

The conference “Being and Thinking as an Academic Mother”, at Simone de Beauvoir Institute, Montreal, Canada, April 8, 2010 will proceed as scheduled

The New York conference “Representing Motherhood” May 20-22, 2010 is CANCELLED

The October conference “Mothering and the Economy; The Economics of Mothering” is

The Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering
No more issues of the journal will be published. 2010 subscriptions will be reimbursed fully.

Individual copies of past journal issues may be purchased at a discounted rate until May 1, 2010. Details on website soon

Demeter Press
Past titles may be purchased at a discounted rate. Details on website soon.

A decision is pending on forthcoming Demeter Press titles. A full update will be sent in the next week or two.

The next several months are going to be challenging ones for the association and in particular for ARM’s coordinator Renée Knapp so I ask in advance for your patience and understanding.

Though I am deeply saddened that our beloved ARM must close, I will be forever grateful to the wonderful members of ARM for their transformative and groundbreaking research and activism on and for mothers and mothering around the world. Thank you!

Dr. Andrea O’Reilly,
Founder and Director, ARM, JARM, Demeter Press
York University,
Toronto, Ont.,
M3J 1P3
416 736 2100;60366


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