American british essay history history man masculinities

New York : Routledge , This claim stands in stark contrast to Joan Scott's assessment that, generally speaking, most work on gender has concerned the political sphere. Scott Scott, Joan. In concluding her study, for example, Purkiss suggests further comparative study be done on manhood, politics and England's regional cultures in Wales and Cornwall, but not to the other Stuart kingdoms of Ireland and Scotland. The present article represents a preliminary attempt at extending this question further out into the three kingdoms and British Atlantic. View all notes For the Tudor and early Stuart period there is limited work in this vein, a situation that stands in stark contrast to the large and growing literature on gender, generally, and masculinity, specifically, in England and its empire from the mid-seventeenth century to the present.

Here, too, the scholarship is marked by fruitful interdisciplinarity.

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Examples of historical works broadly interested in empire include Wilson Wilson, Kathleen. London : Routledge , Britons: Forging the Nation — Ithaca : Cornell University Press , View all notes This essay, consequently, will concern itself with the Elizabethan and early Stuart periods. When thinking in the earlier imperial context, Alexandra Shepard's pioneering approach to understanding changing modes of masculinity and civility within England has great utility.

Shepard Shepard, Alexandra. Meanings of Manhood in Early Modern England. Oxford : Oxford University Press , View all notes English writings on Ireland and the Americas were, as we are constantly reminded, largely concerned with encounter with the other, between civility and savagery. What role then, if any, did notions of masculinity and manhood play in settings where civility was thought to be absent? Did they affect or help guide imperial thought and action? In arguing that attention to masculinity can highlight crucial social and political differences among England's early colonial holdings, and in how policymakers envisioned those holdings in their conceptions of the budding imperial state, this paper proceeds in three parts, each of which is brief and suggestive of ideas for further research rather than comprehensive.

The initial task is to use the lens of manhood as a way to point out distinctions between colonial Ireland and British North America. Marvelous Possessions: the Wonder of the New World.

Chicago : University of Chicago Press , View all notes The former describes those focused on Ireland, for they appear quite similar to tracts of predatory governance composed by agents of the monarchy in and for England itself, such as urban reform plans and proto-census records. Ireland as Emergency in the Tudor State.

I attempt to demonstrate the differences in these works by drawing attention to the fact that whereas English musings on the Irish are characterised by running tallies of local men and their violations of the gender expectations deemed normative in the metropole, those on the Indians reveal a curiosity about physical traits, gender-specific actions and behaviours, and relations between the sexes explored in local rather than comparative terms. Nowhere is this multivalent curiosity more strikingly demonstrated than in maps and illustrations.

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My preliminary research suggests that maps in the Irish case depict as much a cultural as a physical geography, one in which space is marked according to local lord or colonial proprietor, invariably male in both cases; maps of the New World are more starkly cartographic, concerned with physical features of the landscape. As for images of the local people, depictions of Indians surpass those of the Irish both in detail and in production quality and serve to educate readers on the most basic aspects of normative activities of Indian men and women.

Brown Brown, Kathleen M. The trans-oceanic context of emergent race theory was, of course, a common aspect of European imperial expansion in the period. On race theory in the early British Atlantic, which now commands a large and growing literature, exemplary studies include Chaplin Chaplin, Joyce E. This section describes Ireland's place in an on-going debate over English manhood and suggests that concerns over masculinity were an important spur to colonial expansion there.

As English men fretted over the emasculating effects of subordination to a pacifist queen, many of them saw the second realm as the one in which martial skills could be perpetuated and honed. But if these officers, soldiers and grandees were, to bastardise a famous line, more English in Ireland than in England itself, they also faced the threat of losing touch there with another and equally vital aspect of contemporary normative masculinity: the self-control associated with civility.

Whereas martial violence was good and to be practised, wanton and unchecked violence was bad and to be squelched.

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This question is still being explored in the English context; see Capp Capp, Bernard. Masculinity and Emotion in Early Modern England. Making Ireland British. View all notes This section ends, then, with a brief discussion of Ireland as place of danger for English masculinity and, in turn, for the state's ability to curb the excesses of male power that seemed naturally to follow from too much liberty. On liberty, see Palmer Palmer, William. The paper's third and final section argues that Irish notions of manhood were threatened by much more than state efforts to domesticate the indigenous warrior caste.

Part III begins by expanding our understanding of Irish aristocratic masculinity and demonstrates both its similarities to, and differences from, English norms. Maginn Maginn, Christopher. Hanover : Wehrhahn Verlag , McManus McManus, Damian. In sum, these three parts work together to think critically about the peculiarities of political geographies in the Tudor and early Stuart worlds and to lead to a more nuanced understanding of how empire emerges and functions, as well as how fundamental concerns over gender affect, and are affected by, that process.

In attempting to do so, I have endeavoured to use comparable sources when possible. Treatises of governance and elite correspondence are used throughout all three sections, for they are applicable to the three geographic areas considered. Part III draws upon Irish-language political poetry and religious polemic. Those debates, indeed the entire discussion of competing notions of manhood discussed in this paper, apply to elites, although one could work through the treatises to get further down the social hierarchy. That there was no normative, unifying sense of manhood across the polities ostensibly ruled from London bolsters the ensuing study's aim to demonstrate that gender can be a causal agent in historical developments.

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Often historians use gender in a descriptive mode: it provides a vocabulary and conceptual frame with which to compare various settings and mentalities across space and time. Here masculinity plays a more robust role in historical change.

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Purkiss Purkiss, Diane. A survey of the relevant scholarly literature on early-modern British imperial expansion might suggest severe limits to the usefulness of gender as a category of historical analysis. Repeatedly we are told that English observers saw the Irish and Indians as savages requiring harsh treatment to bring them to civility. If these colonised others, separated from the English more by race than by culture, were really so outside English norms that they appeared barbarous, even monstrous, what could be gained by approaching imperial writings and encounters from the perspective of gender?

When compared against metropolitan gender norms, the natives are necessarily going to be found wanting. In the realm of imperial politics in the early-modern period, then, there might appear to be little to gain from exploring notions of masculinity, other than perhaps compiling a list of savage behaviours that English commentators attributed to males in Ireland and the Americas alike, an approach congenial to reinforcing commonplaces about cruel-to-be-kind governance as the path to civility.

Such an exercise might tell us about the prejudices of English imperial commentators, but it seems to allow for little of the sort of nuanced historical insight into society, politics and change over time that studies of masculinity have provided for early-modern English society itself.

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Barbarians are barbarians no matter where they lurk, and monsters have no gender. Yet, looking at imperial writings through the lens of masculinity can enable us to see useful differences in how English observers conceived of the Irish as opposed to Indians. Undoubtedly, there were similarities in how indigenous men and their behaviours were described, most commonly that they were indolent, hyper-sexualised and given to exploiting inferiors.

In short, they were petty — if rather lazy — tyrants. This is amply demonstrated in Palmer Palmer, William. Hadfield Hadfield, Andrew , ed. View all notes What one reads of Indians and the Irish seems to occupy the same conceptual space as do written accounts of Turks, Russians, Africans and others who fell below English ideals of civility.

On closer inspection, however, the similarities drawn between Irish and Indians may be less instructive than the perceived differences. This paragraph borrows from material addressed more fully in Kane Kane, Brendan. If the Irish were seen as barbarous and savage in custom and practice, the Indians were seen as barbarians and savages in essence. This is to say that in the New World context, the nouns were used — in the Irish context, the adjectives. See for instance Shuger Shuger, Debora. London, State Formation in Early Modern England c.

View all notes Yet it is curious how infrequently actual examples are given. We would expect, for instance, to see such usage in the works of Edmund Spenser and Sir John Davies, the canonised architects of anti-Irish imperialist thought.

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Spenser Spenser, Edmund. View all notes And if we are to think that the Irish-American connection is to be found in the writings of polemicists and advocates of expansion and plantation, then I have to wonder why, in my reading of every single policy treatise and device found in the Carew collection of State Papers covering the years —, I have not run across the word once.

There are enough documents in this collection to account for a six-volume calendar. I have also been tracking these words in the State Papers, Ireland, an immense and varied collection of documents now held in the UK National Archives, which offers the most detailed foundation for tracking English efforts to bring Ireland under Crown authority. The classic exposition of the s as the decade in which persuasion was replaced by coercion in English efforts to govern Ireland remains Canny Canny, Nicholas.

Hassocks : The Harvester Press , There are occasional references to barbarous custom, action, behaviour and ways.

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But, as noted above, this was the same language aimed at domestic enemies, the poor, Catholics, the Scots, Turks, Russians and so on. View all notes The list could easily be extended. In short, whatever the gendered discourse regarding Ireland and the Irish may have been, it did not operate in the same register of racial difference and encounter that marked English writings on the Americas.

London : PRO Publications , Hereafter CSPI, — View all notes And so they were bound to be for, as Lord Chancellor William Gerard opined in , the spread of the common law to Wales was the model for governing Ireland. London : Routledge and Kegan Paul , Nowhere are these differences more apparent than in the images that accompany the various texts associated with the Tudor reconquest of the island. In the hundreds of surviving tracts and treatises that flooded into Westminster under the Tudors and early Stuarts on how best to govern Ireland, there are almost no images of the Irish.

While a crude doodle, it is so unique that it is reproduced in the recently revised and republished CSPI, —75 , xxx. View all notes Perhaps we should not be surprised: policy manuscripts would seem both generically and formally to discourage illustration. However, the print record is similarly bare. The same applies to Thomas Churchyard's pamphlets on late sixteenth-century Munster and the Desmond Rebellions, to Barnabe Riche's early Jacobean surveys of Ireland and the martial life, and on and on.

There are notable exceptions to this graphic void.