This story in the weekend's National Post was a surprise and juxtaposed two conferences - one entitled "12th ARM (Association for Research on Mothering) Conference: Mothering, Violence, Militarism, War, and Social Justice" against the "2008 (1st) Fatherhood Research Conference" unknown to each other.
The Association for Research on Mothering, at York University, Toronto, is home to ARM, the Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering, Demeter1 Press and Mother Outlaws. The Association’s mandate is to promote feminist maternal scholarship by building and sustaining a community of researchers interested in the topic of mothering-motherhood and its Directors is Dr. Andrea O'REILLY who also happens to be a professor of Women's Studies at York. She has recently completed a book entitled "Feminist Mothering" which was widely discussed at the conference.
Among some of the topics at the Fatherhood Conference was Dalhousie University, Halifax NS Dr. Wanda BERNARD's keynote address entitled "Exploring the role of Otherfathers in African Communities" which explored widely held misconceptions of black fatherhood stereotypes. Also of interest was Carleton University ON professor Dr. Andrea DOUCET with "I'm Still Their Mother: Fathers, Mothers and Maternal Gatekeepers" which focused on how past academics often judged men's performance according to their partners terms - often called the "deficit model of parenting".
The article found great humour in the fact each conference overlapped (at a different location) unknown to the organizers. Explanation given: "We are just like any busy couple and we didn't check in with each other."
1) Demeter you will recall was of course the greek goddess of grain and fertility, a nourisher of youth and the green earth, and preserver of marriage and the sacred law. She represented the health-giving cycle of life and death. With her daughter Persephone she was worshipped long before she was made one of the Olympians and predated the Olympian pantheon.