CFP: Historicising Masculinities
Over the past twenty-five years, or more, masculinity has become a burgeoning and productive field of historical enquiry. Once accepted as universal and self-evident, masculinity has been thoroughly problematised. That masculinity is not a fixed category, but is socially, cultural and historically constructed has entered the historical mainstream, although not without contestation. Historians have examined the widely differing behaviour of men in variety of historical moments, periods, cultures and sub-cultures, which has thoroughly fragmented masculinity as a seemingly unitary category. Since masculinity has been repeatedly created and recreated in different contexts it is more accurate to think of a series of masculinities. Rather than thinking of manliness as an essential set of values or qualities, scholars now understand that a variety of conflicting and competing masculinities are in circulation at any given historical moment. Masculinities have played, and continue to play, a role in shaping gender binaries between men and women, but also to sustain other power relations between men.
Despite the considerable progress in researching masculinities, the category remains a problematic one. In particular, writing histories of masculinity that span periods and regions present complicated methodological challenges. This conference seeks to explore potential future directions for scholarship on masculinities. It seeks to stimulate dialogue between historians working on histories of masculinity across diverse periods and regional, national, and geographic contexts, with the aim of further interrogating masculinity as a historical concept. It asks whether, and how, historians can write histories of masculinity which span periods? What new perspectives are opened by examining masculinities over longer chronologies, and in contexts beyond the western world? How have masculinities been constructed and represented in different historical junctures, and what role have masculinities played in constructing other forms of difference? How have masculinities changed over time, and how have masculinities shaped other historical transformations?