From September 13th until September 15th, 2018, the International Conference “Motherhood and the Law” will take place in Hildesheim, Germany.

More information

The universities of Hildesheim and Göttingen are pursuing a common research project „Power and powerlessness of motherhood“ (2017-2019), financed by the Gender Research Program of the Ministry for Science and Culture of the German state of Lower Saxony.

In the context of this general project we organize from 13 to 15 September 2018 an international conference on “Motherhood and the Law” in Hildesheim. It is the aim of this conference to bring together lawyers with an interdisciplinary approach with scholars from other relevant disciplines so as to engage in an intensive debate on the questions of the conference.

The motherhood project is interdisciplinary in its approach, but focuses on the law of motherhood, on issues of the legal definition of motherhood, on the way in which legal conceptions structure the social discourse on motherhood (and vice versa), on the influence of legal rules on power relations between mothers, fathers, children and the state. Within this larger project three specific research questions are pursued:

The challenges to our understanding of motherhood and to its legal regulation by developments in reproductive medicine (egg and embryo donation, surrogacy).

The challenges to our understanding of motherhood and to its legal regulation by parental constellations deviating from the mother-father-model (single motherhood by choice, same-sex parenthood, multiple parenthood).

The exercise of parental rights in case of parental separation: a comparative study of the legal rules and of their impact on the bargaining positions of mothers and fathers.

The project, however, wants to go beyond these specific questions and look at the whole complex of theoretical and practical questions raised by the social and biomedical developments of the past decades and at the ways answers to these questions depend on each other.

The international conference serves as a forum for discussing social and philosophical questions regarding the foundations of motherhood as a legal construction, for policy-oriented questions about how to regulate motherhood in a sensible way as well as for (comparative) legal contributions.