DescriptionThis dissertation will explore the intersections between race and gender in the US welfare system. Focusing on the ways in which ideas about motherhood and citizenship are contested in discourses around welfare, it will show how competing groups mobilized these ideas in very different ways. It will analyze the use of motherhood and citizenship in the activism of welfare rights recipients in the late 1960s and 1970s at a national and local level and read this in conversation with the state’s discourse around welfare and its use of images of motherhood and citizenship. In particular, it will look at welfare reform attempts in the 91st and 92nd Congress, as well as the National Welfare Rights Organization’s campaign against President Nixon’s Family Assistance Plan (FAP), and local grassroots campaigns across the USA. It will argue that in the prevailing political culture of the 1970s, by claiming their right to speak as mothers and as citizens welfare recipients articulated a radical position that fundamentally challenged prevailing historic and social assumptions about who counted as a mother and as a citizen and thus started an important debate about what motherhood and citizenship meant in the United States.