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Title: Midwife of An-arché : toward a poetics of becoming-with-woman
Author: Rowley, Iain
ISNI:       0000 0004 5371 2802
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2014
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This project explores the connections between midwifery and the ethical demands attendant to poetic practice. Through verse and prose, I unfold a figuration of the midwife that traverses the boundaries between Levinasian heteronomy and Deleuzian heteromorphism, and is a constitutive factor in sites of resistance to the biomedical territorialisation of the creative body. Chief archival and methodological components that inform the thesis include: a historiography of childbirth - tracing the development of ‘holistic’ and ‘interventionist’ paradigms, and the ideological underpinnings of the phallocratic takeover of the birthing room in certain Western countries; idiographic insights gathered from dialogues with maternal practitioners and mothers, including residents of The Farm in Tennessee - where I participated in a midwifery workshop week; an experiential inquiry into Holotropic Breathwork - to facilitate access to non-ordinary states of consciousness; and a negotiation between Marxist-feminist and poststructuralist articulations of ethico-political agency. Subject matter ranges from a consideration of the ethical import of the placental economy to the bio-intelligent tissue of the psoas, the banishment of Anne Hutchinson from Massachusetts Bay to the legacy of the ‘Twilight Sleep’ movement. Sustained critical attention is devoted to Mina Loy’s “Parturition”, and contemporary poets that have acknowledged Loy as an influence, such as Lara Glenum. I suggest that, despite the absence of a birth attendant on the symbolic level, Loy’s poem resonates with the investments of midwifery, instating a ‘subjectin- process’ that woks through and against abstruse and instrumental discourses, defying both the technocratic erasure of maternal knowing and the fetishistic reduction of labour to an end-product. Art’s capacity for opening up a corporeallycharged zone of between-ness is further elaborated in an essay on Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker - through which the treatment of spatiotemporality is aligned with the imperatives of midwifery guardianship.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available