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In this passage from Beryl Bainbridge’s 1991 novel The Birthday Boys, Robert Falcon Scott, leader of the Terra Nova Antarctic expedition, recalls the reflections of his fellow explorer and friend, the naturalist and physician Edward ‘Bill’ Wilson. The conversation occurs while the men are together in a tent during a depot-laying expedition in March 1911. Lawrence ‘Titus’ Oates and Apsley Cherry-Garrard listen in on the exchange, which is broken by the entrance of Henry ‘Birdie’ Bowers. Readers of Bainbridge’s novel, well aware of the fate of the historical Scott and his polar party, including Wilson, Oates, and Bowers, would recognize multiple ironies in this scenario.
High rates of interpersonal violence in Renaissance Italy were not signs of backwardness, requiring repression in order for the conditions of modernity to be set: quite the opposite. Italy, the most economically advanced and urbanised region of Europe, was the first to experience the negative consequences of social mobility and social differentiation. Notaries, accountants and lawyers were not modern bureaucratic functionaries. In order to be accepted as gentlemen they also had to act like gentlemen. The creation of a more amorphous social elite forced Italians to rethink the rules regulating social conduct, codifying the laws of civility and the duel, and elaborating the art of peacemaking. None of this stopped the violence however. Renaissance ideals of glory triumphed over the pious trappings of chivalry. Fighting was liberating, permitting any man, whatever his status, to win fame. Duelling became endemic, a corollary to and consequence of vendetta. The rest of this chapter outlines the contours of the new Renaissance masculine culture.
Historiography has long relegated women’s roles in Latin American independence to stories of heroines who left home to support the movement only to return once battles were won. This chapter argues, by contrast, that shifting models of femininity and masculinity were central to a political transformation from colonies governed by paternal monarchs to republics that celebrated national fraternity among male citizens. Using intersectional analysis, it traces the multiple ways in which roles for both women and men of various social strata were in flux from the eighteenth century through independence. By the mid-nineteenth century, ideologies of separate spheres became dominant, allowing elite and middling women to extend their maternal influence into educational and charitable endeavors, but only by mobilizing as women. Poor women and women of color could neither live up to domestic ideals nor earn rights, like their male peers, through military service or as household heads. Rather than simply a colonial legacy of patriarchal domination, then, gender norms changed as women went from sharing with men differentiated ranks as colonial subjects to their exclusion from citizenship.
The forms of punishment and informal privatization in schools have wide-ranging implications for student subjectivities and practices. This chapter focuses in particular on the resulting patterns of noncompliance, failed disciplinary supervision and gendered contestation. It provides background on the wide-ranging negative consequences of harsh punishment for young people. It focuses in particular on noncompliance and its assumed links to working class education, to gender traditionalism and to assumptions about authoritarian Arab schools. It charts patterns of contestation and retaliation among girls and boys and the responses of school authorities to them, and explains the attempts of educational authorities to uphold a semblance of discipline and educational supervision. In contrast to depictions of authoritarian Arab schooling and its role in producing obedient submissive citizens, the chapter describes the collapse of this model of schooling and the kind of authoritarianism it implies in the case of Egypt. In the place of obedience or submissiveness, it highlights pervasive forms of noncompliance and illusory forms of control over schools in the context of state withdrawal and de facto privatization.
The book starts with the description of a violent scene inside a classroom, and this chapter elaborates on patterns of beating and humiliation that many readers will find disturbing. This chapter tackles violent punishment by school authorities in Egypt in its historical, social, cultural, classed and gendered dimensions. It describes the ways in which teachers explain and situate their practices and unpacks how violent punishment might be related to a “culture” of the poor or their structural conditions and how constructions of masculinity and femininity intersect with gendered punishment and surveillance. The chapter underlines how punishment is changing in its forms and intensities, and the complex ways in which it is both accepted and contested by students and families. Through the example of a “demonstration in support of beating” in 2011, it explores the distinctions between repressive, exploitative and disciplinary punishment implicit in the discourses of students and families.
Sixteenth-century Spain was at the vanguard of European collegiate bureaucratic rule and imperial governance. This chapter argues that although in the 1490s to 1540s council ministers’ operations were considerably patrimonialist, determined largely by each member’s family interests, by the 1540s to 1590s the Council became substantially more impartial. This occurred in large part due to the influence of women. Vassals’ attempts to shape ministers’ decisions via female connections prompted the council’s fundamental 1542 and 1571 guidelines. Subsequently, Madrid’s anxieties about women’s sway, and surfeits of Indies commodities, stirred misogynistic treatises, royal scrutiny, and an increasingly explicit masculine ministerial ethos. More concretely, monarchs and ministers feared that some of their colleagues and subalterns would become the playthings of court women, who themselves had connections with vassals seeking their cases’ resolution. The actions of indigenous artisans here were particularly notable, as subjects regaled female courtiers with their exquisite goldwork. The resulting backlash against powerful women ensured that gobierno petitioning did not become the domain of the powerful few in the 1500s, and the fiction of the council as mere instruments for the monarchs persisted strongly throughout the second half of the century.
David Malouf and Christos Tsiolkas represent very different generations of gay men with migrant backgrounds, but both use the novel form as a way of articulating gay experience. Malouf, born 1934, started out as a poet, and continued to publish poetry for his entire career. His work is exquisitely styled and highly verbally self-conscious. As opposed to the meditative, scholarly Malouf, Tsiolkas, born 1965, is far grittier and rancorous in his approach. Loaded (1995) details a world of drug use and casual sex, whereas Dead Europe (2005) overturns the traditional Australian nostalgia for and even pretention about continental Europe by examining its sordid post-Cold War reality. Though Malouf and Tsiolkas are very different writers, their concern with aesthetics, history, and what it might be to live in a community make their juxtaposition not just heuristic but inevitable. This chapter explores one convergence between them: their queering of mateship.
This chapter focuses on the development of Kakabona, a series of peri-urban settlements just outside Honiara, the national capital. Drawing on a series of disputes that came before chiefs and courts during the 1980s and 1990s, in part due to rapid urbanisation, it demonstrates that the juridical construction and regulation of property prompts the delineation of boundaries between people and on the ground, often in palpably exclusionary ways. Thus rather than ‘securing’ people’s rights and reducing conflict, legal recognition has generated increased social fragmentation and stratification. In Kakabona as elsewhere in Solomon Islands, these processes are now strongly tied to the idea of masculine ‘chiefs’; however, they are also informed by culturally specific meanings attached to land. The chapter demonstrates that paying attention to the emotional or affective dimensions of land disputes, in particular the multifaceted danger they pose, casts light on the emergence of land disputes as crucial sites for the performance of idealised models of masculinity. Moreover, these processes simultaneously reproduce peri-urban areas as sites of insecurity and the state as a masculine domain.
This chapter extends existing literature on property, political authority and state formation by focusing on the gendered aspects of ethno-territorial conflict. From late 1998, Solomon Islands was plunged into a period of conflict, and by 2003, it was regarded as a ‘failed state’. Militants made territorial claims that were grounded in highly gendered notions of culture and ethnicity, and in the aftermath of the conflict, attention has been devoted to consolidating these distinctions via a new constitution adopting a federal system. While ’the Tension’ has often been interpreted as exposing the fragility of state institutions and the tenacity of custom, this chapter argues that it must be understood as emerging from processes of state formation. These processes are profoundly gendered, and reproduce state norms and institutions as a masculine, even hypermasculine, domain. This is highlighted by the widespread gender-based violence perpetrated by militants during the conflict, which was not merely an effect of territorial claims, but constituted them, with devastating consequences for women, children and men who perceived and sought to express themselves differently.
A thirteenth-century gloss on Walter of Châtillon’s Alexandreis dutifully approves the author’s omission of incriminatory detail as in line with the poem’s declared panegyric aims, even as it expounds a phrase in the text that alludes obliquely to Alexander’s scandalous behavior. What the glossator fails to register is that if Walter really wants to praise Alexander, he’s here been singularly incompetent at it. But a reader who has a rather more positive view of the possibility of world conquerors mixing it up with Persian toy-boys has ample space here to imagine it happening. Such a reader can plausibly seize precisely on the poem’s general celebration of Alexander in their reading of the supposedly derogatory allusion. Perhaps, to the mind of such a reader, Walter is suggesting that what Alexander gets up to in the privacy of the royal tent is nobody else’s business.
Both dictatorships and democracies are conceived in Bolaño’s texts within the framework of a patriarchal order in which sexual impulses and pleasure in the mutilation of women and children are not only the legacy of the authoritarian abuses of dictatorships but also the very condition of the formation of the legal apparatuses of democratic states. Many of the approaches to gender in Bolaño have focused on the killing of women in Ciudad Juarez. What I contend in these pages is that the normalization of violence against women or more subtle ways of erasing women’s visions (in particular in relation to strong or independent women) is what most calls for a feminist reflection in Bolaño’s world, because what is exposed is precisely the simultaneity of autonomy and vulnerability. Gender violence in Bolaño also involves the inexorable link between masculinity and rape/feminicide. And it is precisely within this link that literature plays such a central role, not only in the exposure of violence, but also in a more silent (and hidden) consent to sexual violence and the killing of women.
This essay examines the textual representation of creole religiosity as it developed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries during its transition from a transplanted, transatlantic belief system into a hybrid American faith. Various textual genres attest to this Creole faith in transition including spiritual life writings, chronicles of religious orders, sermons and tracts dealing with miracles and portents, as well as more formal literary genres including theater and poetry. Creole religiosity was a highly gendered phenomenon, and these texts reveal the contours of the exemplarity the Church demanded from men and women as well as the challenges launched against these ideals. Authors studied here include the canonical like Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora, as well as nuns and clerics whose names are less familiar but whose texts bring New Spanish devotional culture to life.
The male experience of infertility has been widely misunderstood, largely because cultural socialization and methodologic limitations restrict men’s expression. While many have believed that men are not emotionally impacted by infertility, recent studies show that men actually experience a variety of complex emotional reactions to an infertility diagnosis, including depression, helplessness, and threats to their masculine identity. In addition, men commonly report feeling they have little to contribute to medical treatments – even in cases of male-factor infertility. Qualitative research has provided insight into the complex inner landscape men experience when navigating infertility. Healthcare and mental health professionals are in a unique position to increase men’s involvement in the treatment process. Fertility counselors now have the skills and training to help men navigate the infertility journey by giving them the tools and strategies they need to cope with this unexpected life stressor, increase social support, and enhance their overall quality of life and well-being.
Themes of contemporary country music during the 2010s moved from “bro-country” songs promoting alcohol consumption, partying, and hook-up culture, toward tracks outlining consensual, presumed heterosexual, romantic relationships. Close listening to these “gentlemanly” songs reveals a specter of coercion, raising questions about the nature of consent. Using music by Sam Hunt and Thomas Rhett as case studies, this chapter investigates how male country artists represent romantic relationships as an idealized goal where consent is implied rather than expressly indicated. Case studies unravel how silent partners are pressurized and narrators hear or assume “yes” where no consent is offered. Investigations of songs by chart-dominating male country artists allow us to notice how and when in these songs women’s voices may be heard, silenced, or made irrelevant. Applicable beyond just country music, this chapter offers a means for understanding how the idea of consent manifests within popular musics more broadly.
Wallace wrote about masculinity throughout his career, from The Broom of the System’s (1987) parodies of neurotic macho posturing to The Pale King’s (2011) encomiums to white-collar workers. It is peculiar, then, that critical attention to Wallace’s treatment of masculinity is still spotty. Part of the reason for this, perhaps, is that Wallace’s gender politics were rather conservative, and therefore anathema to scholarly communities rightly committed to challenging traditional ideas of masculinity. However, there is more nuance, complication and ambiguity in Wallace’s depictions of masculinity than is normally acknowledged, even if his works do remain broadly masculinist in their tenor, and given to portraying a kind of “masculinity in crisis.” This chapter examines these points of interest and dissonance by drawing particular attention to the following overlapping themes: sport and the body, fatherhood, and class, offering grounds from which scholars can investigate this topic in greater detail. Similarly, although Wallace’s texts generally resist being recruited into a progressive gender politics, I argue that their depictions of masculinity are nevertheless worth considering. By paying attention to masculinity in his work, we can further explicate Wallace’s aesthetic innovations, better historicize his relation to patriarchy, and – as the case may be – reaffirm the need to criticize what he has to say about men.
I see feminism as a commitment to the full humanity of all women and all men, and a dismantling of the patriarchal values that inhibit this.
My essay is interested in David Foster Wallace’s complex and evolving relationship with feminism and the feminine, as well as in how this relationship has been figured over time within the literary community. This investigation involves an account of how critical practices surrounding Wallace have transformed over the past decade—from readings that take as universal the “human being” of Wallace’s work, instead of reading it as emblematic of a particular nexus of privileged observer-positions, to intersectional readings that acknowledge Wallace’s embodiment as a white middle-class American male whose work reflects that embodiment in important ways, to, finally, #MeToo-era readings that foreground the actual misogynistic violence inflicted by Wallace in his personal capacity, which, morally and politically, would seem to foreclose the possibility of further reading and set up an existential crisis for the burgeoning field of Wallace Studies.
As I engage with each of these critical approaches in my essay, three central questions emerge. First: How has the history of feminism in America shaped Wallace’s work and its reception? Second: If feminism is “a commitment to the full humanity of all women and all men,” where does Wallace’s empathy expand in this regard and where does it break down, on the page and in the flesh? Third: In our present historical moment, does acknowledging Wallace’s ultimate betrayal of this commitment in the form of his abuse mean a complete disavowal of the author and the man—an end to the conversation, as it were—or is there space for the #MeToo movement within Wallace Studies?
An abiding concern throughout Molière’s works, masculinity is a more multivalent, complex and nuanced phenomenon than one might expect. Focussing primarily on various external signifiers coded as masculine – particularly elements of appearance and dress such as swords, hairstyles, and beards – this chapter outlines the various forms that seventeenth-century masculinity can take when it intersects with other variables of age, social class, biological sex and so forth. For example, while the barbons of the older generation regard their beards as an unassailable symbol of male authority, they are troubled by their younger blondin rivals, whose gallantry and blond wigs strike them as effeminate. An even more affected mode of masculinity can be found in the bodily stylisations and verbal uncouthness of the aristocratic petits marquis. As this chapter demonstrates, masculinity in Molière emerges as something largely performed or asserted in relation to others – through domination of women or competition with other men (in duels, warfare or seduction). Such issues are starkly flagged up when cross-dressing or cross-casting are involved: in many of Molière’s plays, women’s success at passing as men, and men’s failure to pass as women, can often demonstrate the fragility of both social gender roles and men’s authority.
In the 1930 novel Not without Laughter, Langston Hughes represents Black life in the Midwest through the experiences of Sandy Rodgers and his family in small-town Stanton, Kansas (a stand-in for Hughes’s childhood home of Lawrence, Kansas). Much of the criticism on Not without Laughter focuses on the influences of Sandy’s grandmother and aunts, but this chapter centers his father, Jimboy. While he rarely instructs Sandy on how to be a man, Jimboy models a Black blues masculinity that draws together multiple aspects of early twentieth-century American culture. By reading Jimboy within the novel’s Midwestern cultural and historical context, this chapter foregrounds him as a consequential figure within both the novel and Sandy’s life. Jimboy’s demeanor, musicality, and mobility suggest how Sandy might learn to cope with life in the modern Midwest – notably, however, in ways that do not align with the conventionally respectable aspirations of his female relatives.
Unlike southern European sailors, men from the North Sea basin were Britain’s cultural and geographic neighbours: their linguistic integration was smoother, and the stereotypes surrounding them more positive. In 1800, four ships entirely manned and officered by exiled Dutchmen were even allowed wholesale into the British service. This was a rare experiment: if the Army often segregated foreigners in special regiments, the Royal Navy usually operated as a ‘melting pot’. Presenting a microhistory of this episode, Chapter 6 shows how similar institutional cultures facilitated this kind of integration and administrative translation. The Admiralty also highly valued sailors from Denmark and Norway, as reliable and skilled manpower. At the same time, these very qualities made them potentially formidable rivals and enemies, meaning that their recruitment provoked diffidence and concerns among British elites and seafarers. The problems with which the Navy had to grapple when recruiting southern and northern European men were specular to each other: prejudice held the former as poor workforce, and thus of little use, and the latter as exceptional workforce, and therefore dangerous. In neither case did the negative implications ultimately carry much weight for an institution that was only concerned with sustaining a strenuous war effort.