RHS Symposium: Masculinity and the Body in Britain, 1500-1900

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Date / time: 18 June, All day

University of Northampton

RHS Symposium: Masculinity and the Body in Britain, 1500-1900

2015 is a significant milestone in the history of masculinity and the body, marking the 25th anniversary of the publication of Thomas Laqueur’s Making Sex: Gender and the Body from the Greeks to Freud; the 20th anniversary of the publication of Anthony Fletcher’s Gender, Sex and Subordination in England, 1500-1800; and the 10th anniversary of the publication of a special edition of the Journal of British Studies co-edited by Alexandra Shepard and Karen Harvey which asked ‘what have historians done with masculinity?’  This one-day symposium, sponsored by the Royal Historical Society, will offer opportunities for critical reengagement with these important works by considering how men’s bodies shaped gendered identities across four centuries in which major shifts took place in understandings of the body which were fundamental to shaping modern ideas and practices of gender. For further details, please contact tim.reinke-williams@northampton.ac.uk


9-9.45AM: Registration and Welcome


Jennifer Evans (Hertfordshire), ‘Shameful secrets? Men’s sexual health in the long seventeenth century’

Tawny Paul (Northumbria), ‘Men’s bodies and the experience of debt in the eighteenth-century’

Chair: Garthine Walker (Cardiff)

11.15-11.30AM: Break


Des Newell (Oxford Brookes), ‘Stripping and fighting: disrobement in the Georgian plebeian honour fight’

Matthew McCormack (Northampton), ‘Tall histories: height and Georgian masculinities’.

Chair: Rosi Carr (East London)

1-2PM: Lunch


Keynote Lecture: Joanne Bailey (Oxford Brookes), ‘Manly bodies before muscular manliness: grace, strength and dexterity, England 1750-1850’

Chair: Tim Reinke-Williams (Northampton)

3.15-3.30PM: Break


Victoria Bates (Bristol), ‘Before storm and stress: masculinity, medicine and the pubescent body in Victorian Britain’

Michael Brown (Roehampton), ‘Cold steel, weak flesh: mechanism, masculinity and the anxieties of late Victorian empire’

Chair: John Tosh (Roehampton)

4.45-5PM: Break

5-6PM: Roundtable

Anthony Fletcher (Emeritus)

Karen Harvey (Sheffield)

Alexandra Shepard (Glasgow)

Chair: Tim Reinke-Williams (Northampton)

7PM: Dinner