Susan Fowlow, Newfoundland popular educator, newly published book WOMEN AND MOTHERWORK

Susan Fowlow book cover

– Posted by Dorothy

I was Susan Fowlow’s thesis advisor — she graduated with her MAdEd from St. Francis Xavier University in 2006 — so I am especially proud that Verlag has published her thesis as a book, with few alterations and with the same title: Women and Motherwork: Raising Families and Communities. It is enormously difficult to get graduate research published in the format of the thesis. 


When Susan sent her friends and colleagues an email announcement about her book, I was taken with the small detail that her daughter Davis had taken the photograph of the author for the book. Motherwork theory in practice! When Susan began the master’s program in adult education at StFX, she was pregnant with Davis. Now Davis is her photographer. 


Susan’s book is in stock at  The product description replicates the academic style of a thesis abstract and  does not do justice to Susan’s artful and autobiographical writing, which accords with feminist genealogy. I include a passage from Susan’s writing to signal her interest and commitment to women’s art and women’s history in the context of the women’s movement in rural Newfoundland. As this passage draws on Barb Grainger’s (2003) article, “The ‘new’ quilting bee” (see, I am also posting this on our Hand-Me-Downs page of this blog. The product description follows.


Jubilee Guilds were another example of the varied ways in which women learn and contribute to communities. Most of the participants in the first focus group had been involved with the Guild. It later became known as the Women’s Institute and its focus was on social connections between women and home economics. It was a place where women came together in knitter’s groups and quilting B’s to work, to laugh or to just plain get away from it all. As the women began to talk about the Guilds, they became playfully reminiscent. Their conversations and memories caused me to recall an article by Barb Grainger (2003) that I had read not long before:

Momma’s kitchen table was always a ‘comfort’ place for me. She was my best friend, confidant, mentor and spiritual guide.  One day I sat at that table, a young mother of three seeking her advice on how to raise my little family.  As I sipped my coffee, she reminisced about her childhood.  Her word pictures took me back to a simpler time when she and other children played under large quilts as my Grandmother and the other ladies of the church quilted and added finishing touches to their works of art. The children — literally surrounded by their mothers, grandmothers and mentors — listened and learned as the women laughed, cried, sang, told stories, gave each other advice, or recipes or just loved on someone who was going through a hard time. Through example, knowledge and wisdom, they infused a new generation. (p. 1)


Product Description (
This book examines the critical role that women historically have played, and continue to play, in developing and sustaining rural communities. It explores the idea that subsistence labor in communities is done by women and becomes, therefore, an extension of the kind of work that they do as mothers because it focuses heavily on social programs which support the care and well- being of children, parents, and husbands. This motherwork style of community development greatly has enhanced the social fabric of communities throughout history as women have woven together threads of the young and old, against a backdrop of social justice and growth. Framed by commitment, this fabric has hung on the walls of communities for generations. This book will definitely strengthen the community development literature as well as invite further study.

About the Author
Susan D. Fowlow, B.A,B.Ed,M.Ad.Ed: Studied adult education and women’s connection to community development, at St. Francis Xavier University. Instructional Co-ordinator at Bay St. George Campus of College of the North Atlantic, Stephenville, NL, Canada.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: VDM Verlag (May 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3639157982
  • ISBN-13: 978-3639157987
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.9 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.8 ounces

~ by artpoped on June 22, 2009.

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