Empowering Mothers

Book cover showing closeup of woman's face, title that reads "Infamous Mothers"

Infamous Mothers: Women Who’ve Gone Through the Belly of Hell … and Brought Something Good Back is a coffee-table book that features 20 intergenerational caretakers who have overcome personal hurdles and now make a difference in their communities. Its publication gives stigmatized mothers a way to tell their own stories and demonstrate their intrinsic value, challenging and adding complexity to stereotypes about teen mothers, mothers who abused drugs, mothers who engaged in sex work, and mothers who have survived domestic abuse or sexual trauma.

The book is part of a business called Infamous Mothers, founded by Sagashus Levingston MA’09, PhDx’16, herself a mother of six. Her startup — which also trains businesses and offers workshops, classes, and public speaking — strives to empower mothers.

“I don’t just talk about the importance of more mothers — especially marginalized ones — becoming CEOs, doctors, scientists, business owners, etc. I talk about strategies to make it happen,” Levingston writes on her website. “Equally important, I talk about what’s at stake if we don’t.”

Levingston’s book and business were inspired by her doctoral dissertation, “Infamous Mothers: Bad Moms Doing Extraordinary Things.”

The book, which concludes with a study guide, is marketed for use in university coursework. “For me, that is my way of getting back into academia — for the books to end up there, and for me to do speaking on campuses,” she told the Wisconsin State Journal in October.

Published in the Summer 2018 issue

Tags: Alumni, books, Research, Social sciences

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