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Childfree and Happy

Transforming the Rhetoric of Women's Reproductive Choices

by Courtney Adams Wooten

Hardcover Price $95.00
Paperback Price $28.95
Ebook Price $23.95
30-day ebook rental price $12.00

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“An important contribution to the field. Mothering rhetorics are a key component of feminist and gender rhetorics and deserve a platform beyond the niche.
—Kirsti Cole, Minnesota State University, Mankato


Childfree and Happy examines how millennia of reproductive beliefs (or doxa) have positioned women who choose not to have children as deviant or outside the norm. Considering affect and emotion alongside the lived experiences of women who have chosen not to have children, Courtney Adams Wooten offers a new theoretical lens to feminist rhetorical scholars’ examinations of reproductive rhetorics and how they circulate through women’s lives by paying attention not just to spoken or written beliefs but also to affectual circulations of reproductive doxa. 

Through interviews with thirty-four childfree women and analysis of childfree rhetorics circulating in historical and contemporary texts and events, this book demonstrates how childfree women individually and collectively try to speak back to common beliefs about their reproductive experiences, even as they struggle to make their identities legible in a sociocultural context that centers motherhood. Childfree and Happy theorizes how affect and rhetoric work together to circulate reproductive doxa by using Sara Ahmed’s theories of gendered happiness scripts to analyze what reproductive doxa is embedded in those scripts and how they influence rhetoric by, about, and around childfree women.

Delving into how childfree women position their decision not to have children and the different types of interactions they have with others about this choice, including family members, friends, colleagues, and medical professionals, Childfree and Happy also explores how communities that make space for alternative happiness scripts form between childfree women and those who support them. It will be of interest to scholars in the fields of the rhetoric of motherhood/mothering, as well as feminist rhetorical studies.

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Courtney Adams Wooten is associate chair of composition and assistant professor of writing and rhetoric at George Mason University. She is a coeditor of The Things We Carry and WPAs in Transition, and her work has been published in College English, Composition Studies, WPA, Academic Labor: Research and Artistry, Harlot, and Peitho, as well as in several edited collections.

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  • Hardcover Price: $95.00
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-64642-437-5
  • Paperback Price: $28.95
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-64642-438-2
  • Ebook Price: $23.95
  • 30-day ebook rental price: $12.00
  • EISBN: 978-1-64642-439-9
  • Publication Month: June
  • Publication Year: 2023
  • Pages: 242
  • Discount Type: Short
  • Author: by Courtney Adams Wooten
  • ECommerce Code: 978-1-64642-438-2
  • Get Permissions: Get Permission

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