Concerning Maternity Part III

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Concerning Maternity III
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Date(s) - 07/05/2019
09:00 - 17:30

Universiteit voor Humanistiek


Ethics, Care and Subjectivity

The Concerning Maternity Network at the University of Humanistic Studies welcomes you at this international conference the 7th of May, where we will analyze and explore the lived experience of both pregnant and maternal subjectivity, as well as that of midwifery, in order to consider the question: what are pregnant and maternal subjectivities and how can maternity care attune to them adequately?

Respectful Maternity Care

An increasing number of mothers and professionals in maternity care are advocating for Respectful Maternity Care, care that integrates the voices of pregnant and birthing people to be heard and taken into account. Pregnancy, giving birth and motherhood are unique and existentially transformative experiences, that can change the way one experiences oneself, one’s body, one’s relations to others, and to the world. Being relational in their core, pregnancy and maternity pose problems to the Western view on individuality as separate and demarcated, in both an ethical and an existential perspective.

In order for Respectful Maternity Care to become a common ground in practice, two things need to be investigated on a theoretical level: 1) the potential of a new ethical framework suited specifically for the relationality at stake in maternity care; and 2) the possibility of a philosophical conception of the pregnant and maternal subject who we claim to be at the center of ‘woman-centered-care’. For who exactly is this person? What can we say about the subjectivity of carrying, birthing and taking care of a child?

Please join us to discuss these questions with writers, mothers, midwives, and academics in midwifery theory, philosophy, care-ethics, and psychosocial theory.

Full Programme


  • Mavis Kirkham – Professor of Midwifery and midwife
  • Bahareh Goodarzi – PhD-student and midwife
  • Stella Villarmea  – Professor of Philosophy of Childbirth
  • Inge van Nistelrooij  – Assistant Professor Care Ethics
  • Lisa Baraitser  – Professor of Psychosocial Theory
  • Jonna Bornemark  – Professor of Philosophy
  • Neske Beks – Writer
  • Beatrijs Smulders – Midwife and writer 

Chair: Rodante van der Waal (PhD student)


Booking fee: € 25 (whole day, including lunch, coffee, tea and a drink)
Students/ low budgets: € 10

During the conference, there will be room for a limited number of visitors.

Register Here

Venue, accessibility and children

The conference will take place at the University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht, The Netherlands. The university can be easily is reached by public transport (not by car). It is at a 20 minutes walking distance from the central train-station.

We welcome people with disabilities and want to be of your assistance, please contact the reception: 030 2390100.

Parents are welcome to bring their children and babies. If you need to pump breastmilk (kolven) during the conference, please notify one of the contact persons listed below beforehand so a quiet room can be made available.


If you would like further information, please contact: or