Friday 21st June ’19 – University of Southampton

This conference was funded by the generosity of the Society of Applied Philosophy, the Mind Association, and the Southampton Ethics Centre.
We would like to thank our keynote speakers, poster presenters, and all who attended the conference for such an enriching and inspiring day of discussion and debate!


The programme is available here and photos from the event are now available to view hereLive-tweet threads for each of our keynote talks are available through the links provided in our keynote speaker abstracts below.


Pregnancy as a site of research in the arts and social sciences is newly flourishing. However, the interplay of maternity and pregnancy with conceptions of the mind and the self have rarely been the focus of interdisciplinary research. This conference aims to bring together philosophers studying pregnancy and the self with cultural and medical historians, sociologists, and scholars of literature and film.

We aim to place a spotlight on the pregnant self: How does this sense of self change and develop during pregnancy? What role does the foetus play in her sense of identity, and what influence does it have on her mind-body relationship? How have ideas about these themes changed over the centuries, and what (if any) ideas are universal? How have social norms surrounding maternity influenced women’s sense of identity, and in what ways is the maternal self culturally constructed? 

Our keynote speakers were:

Professor Amy Mullin (University of Toronto)
See live-tweet thread
Amy Mullin’s research ranges from topics in the history of philosophy to feminist philosophy (philosophy of care, conceptions of the self) and aesthetics (art, imagination and morality). Her book Reconceiving Pregnancy and Childcare: Ethics, Experience and Reproductive Labor was published in 2005 by Cambridge University Press, and she has published extensively in recent years on issues surrounding pregnancy, parenthood, and children.

Professor Fiona Woollard (University of Southampton)
See live-tweet thread
Fiona Woollard has research interests in normative ethics, applied ethics, epistemically transformative experiences and the philosophy of sex and pregnancy. Her main current research is in the Philosophy of Pregnancy, Birth and Early Motherhood. Fiona shows that pregnancy, birth and early motherhood can challenge traditional ways of thinking about morality and knowledge. She also identifies ways in which philosophical mistakes in our thinking about motherhood can influence the treatment of pregnant women and mothers, often leading to harmful consequences for these vulnerable groups.

Dr Isabel Davis (Birkbeck)
See live-tweet thread
Isabel Davis has research interests in the field of medieval gender studies, the household, subjectivity, intimate relationships and social identity, and her publications variously touch on these topics. A product of this research was a project entitled Conceiving Histories, which connected academic literary history and visual art practice to discover and research a history of un-pregnancy (childlessness, trying to conceive and the ambiguity of early pregnancy) in the archives.

Kajsa Ekis Ekman (journalist and activist, Dagens Nyheter, ETC, The Guardian)
See live-tweet thread 
Kajsa Ekis Ekman is a journalist and activist who has authored extensive works on women’s rights, among other subjects. Her book Being and Being Bought – Prostitution, Surrogacy and the Split Self (in which she turns a critical lens on the narratives which surround women and their bodies in the sex industry and the surrogacy industry) was published in 2013 by Spinifex Press.

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