Of Victorian Interest

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CFP: MLA 2017 Panel: The Boundaries of Masculinity in the Long Nineteenth Century (3/28/2016)


MLA 2017 Panel Proposal: The Boundaries of Masculinity in the Long Nineteenth Century

This is a call for paper proposals that address the shifting, complicated, and fractured boundaries, definitions, and iterations of masculinity in texts from 1789-1914.

In her seminal study, R. W. Connell defines masculinity in quasi-geographical terms, as a “place in gender relations” that is impacted by practice, bodily experience, personality, and culture. The boundaries of masculinity only began shifting, she argues, during the nineteenth century. Connell describes how the rise of women’s movements, complications of industrial capitalism, and the fluctuating borders and imaginations of the colonial and post-colonial world radically refigured the ways in which masculinity was produced and reproduced.

This panel will examine various forms of masculine boundaries in long nineteenth-century texts. Potential participants are encouraged to consider not only Connell’s trio of factors, but also other approaches to the question of masculinity that are specific to the conditions of the long nineteenth century. For example, papers might address some of the following questions:

  • How do those boundaries fluctuate or dissolve in response to different conditions in gender politics, economics, or empire?
  • What different masculinities and practices developed in contact zones?
  • How did non-heterosexual relationships (sexual or otherwise) change masculinity?
  • How did traditional genre conventions (historical romances, epistolary novels, periodical pieces) reinforce, expand, or weaken the boundaries of masculinity?
  • In what ways does masculinity become defined as a result of academic hindsight or disciplinary demands? (i.e., is there a “Romantic” masculinity that must be different from a “Victorian” masculinity?)
  • How do non-Anglo-American gender relations (from comparative studies, colonial expansion, or “discovery”) displace or refigure English and American masculinities?
  • How does intersectionality impact a given writer or writers’ approach to defining the boundaries of masculinity? Do the layers of their identity change the ways in which we think about the emplacement of masculinity?
  • Please submit a 400-word proposal and short biography (one paragraph) to halinaad@udel.edu and pbclark@udel.edu no later than 28 March 2016.

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