Constructs of Masculinity in Late-Nineteenth- and Late-Twentieth Century America

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Authors
Hubert, Shaunna
Issue Date
2013-04-20
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panel
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en_US
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Abstract
This presentation will examine how muscular Christianity served as a catalyst in forging new constructs of masculinity, following a perceived crisis in late-nineteenth- and late-twentieth-century America. During these crises, the leaders of muscular Christianity helped to change the notion of an ideal man. Their religious rhetoric, coupled with strong nationalistic propaganda - an integral aspect in muscular Christianity - helped to turn the perceived effeminate male into the epitome of the "manly man." The methodology used will be a combination of gender analysis along with a cultural historical approach. Gender theory will be important in trying to understand and analyze the perceived crisis. It will allow for a better understanding of why Anglo-Saxon middle-class men felt like their position in society was being threatened. A comparative approach will help to delineate the similarities and differences among similar movements. It will also help to distinguish what triggered the perceived crisis in masculinity and how it was apparently rectified. This presentation will differ from current scholarship by combining religion and gender theory and by critiquing and analyzing the supposed crisis faced by nineteenth- and twentieth-century men. Historians of muscular Christianity, such as Clifford Putney, and Tony Ladd, have studied the late-nineteenth-century movement, however, they are lacking an in-depth critique of the perceived crisis and have made little-to-no attempt to compare this movement with its late-twentieth-century counterpart. Finally, sources will include published sermons, books by the movements' leaders, first-hand accounts of the rallies, propaganda literature, and secondary texts on gender, religion, etc.
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