ashwednesday: (Academic at work)
For those of you not familiar with my research, my PhD thesis (soon to be submitted, Deo volente - though I've been saying that for a good five months now...) is on late medieval English fatherhood. In general, then, I am interested in patriarchy and its parameters, as well as conceptualising masculinities. I thought the following quotation on modern fatherhood was quite nice - not in that it's saying anything new, but because it concisely and clearly makes a good starting point for studying masculine identity.

In most of the situations that have been closely studied, there is some hegemonic form of masculinity - the most honoured or desired... The hegemonic form need not be the most common form of masculinity, let alone the most comfortable. Indeed many men live in a state of some tension with, or distance from, the hegemonic masculinity of their culture or comunity.

R.W. Connell, The Men and the Boys (Cambridge, 2000), pp. 11-12.

Something also worth considering is that this "hegemonic masculinity" has not remained the same over the centuries; something that should be obvious to academics, but apparently is not always. Similarly, whilst the institution of patriarchy has remained in place for most of the history of Western civilisation, its parameters have changed a great deal over time. I got to thinking about this today because I got to read an interesting article on the topic of Ancient Greek pederasty that is forthcoming in 2010, and then I re-read Ruth Mazo Karras' article on sex and single women which talks about how historians conflate illicit sex with prostitution, and put together the two made me think about the assumptions that scholars make about "being male". At least now it seems like these are questions more people are asking.


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January 2013

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