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Sons of 'the modern Athens'

The Classical Union of Athletic and Intellectual Masculinities in Charles Reade's Hard Cash

Marc Milton Ducusin

Charles Reade's sensation novel Hard Cash (1863) ostensibly divides the qualities of athletic and intellectual prowess between its two main male characters, the Oxford rower Edward Dodd and the more academically inclined Alfred Hardie. Their contrasted pairing iterates the sensation genre's trope of doubled identities, while Reade's depiction of their respective aptitudes draws heavily on Classical ideals of male beauty and philosophical learning. Complicating the dichotomy, Alfred increasingly comes to embody the need for cohesion of body and intellect, thus illustrating Reade's vision of Oxford as a 'modern Athens' that 'cultivates muscle as well as mind.'

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The Return of Mother Russia

Representations of Women in Soviet Wartime Cinema

Elena Baraban

This article examines the process of symbolisation in the images of women in Soviet cinema. It argues that during the Great Patriotic War (1941–1945) many female characters served as symbolic representations of the country itself, of Mother Russia, determined to defeat the enemy and ready to endure hardships and to cope with deprivation and grief. The start of the resistance against Nazi Germany called for many more depictions of women than was typical in the thoroughly masculinised culture of the 1930s. At the same time, wartime images of women were quite abstract: they recalled posters and often relied on a symbolically charged mise-en-scène.

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Katie Sutton

Commentators in the popular media of Weimar Germany paid great attention to questions of women's sport, athleticism, and physicality. Their concerns were not restricted to women's reproductive capacities—rather, women's physical emancipation was increasingly interpreted within the framework of larger cultural discourses surrounding the "masculinization" and political emancipation of the modern woman. This article examines such representations of the "masculinized" female athlete, arguing that female athleticism provided an important focus for broader concerns about changing gender relations, female sexuality, and acceptable female life trajectories at this period. Although the perceived threat to traditional male dominance symbolized by the female athlete prompted some commentators to denounce women's physical activity and emphasize traditional gender roles, the article also examines less conventional contemporary responses to women's athleticism, in particular, how a female body "steeled by sport" was reclaimed as an aesthetic ideal within the female homosexual subculture of interwar Berlin.

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Recapturing the Lost

Digitalized Memories of the Rhodesian Bush War

Ane Marie Ørbø Kirkegaard

Rhodesians occupy a very specific digitalized time-space bubble at the very edges of a margin that researchers think of as “past.” In this study, I trace the memorization of the Rhodesian Bush War on YouTube, of what it was like to fight for a dream and see it crumble in an isolated and highly racialized society. Th rough narrative analysis focusing on identity formation and social networks of relationships, a militaryromantic story of racialized masculine heroism, suffering and sacrifice is pieced together, forming a globally shared Rhodesian space-time bubble of meaningfulness, making it an active part of the present as much as a remnant of the past.

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Desire versus Horniness

Sexual Relations in the Collectivist Society of Tajikistan

Colette Harris

Desire focuses on a particular object, while horniness stems from a generalized feeling of sexual arousal. In Tajikistan, people are discouraged from the former and are expected to experience their sexuality as the latter. The story of Rustam and the clashes with his father Malik over the choice of his bride serve to demonstrate the tensions between the two types of sexuality. Women have more difficulties experiencing desire than men, owing to the reification of the hymen and their expected subordination to their husbands. The conceptual differences between Rustam and his father are to some extent due to differences between collectivism and individualism. The concluding discussion suggests that Western culture may be less individualistic in this regard than is often believed.

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Noa Balf

The Oslo peace process has effectively stalled and failed. In this article I show that by positioning the Oslo process and any political and civic forces involved with it as tainted by irrational and emotional weakness, neo-conservative figures and institutions within Israel have successfully argued for a hyper-masculinized Israeli security paradigm. In this configuration, the process of cooperation and the acknowledgement of Palestinian claims are viewed as weak and reprehensible, while aggressive military strategies, deterrence, and the demand for unequivocal Palestinian acceptance of Israel’s terms are perceived as rational and responsible actions that protect Israeli interests. By conflating security with the state, Israeli political leaders perpetuate the conflict rather than resolve it.

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Beyond the utility of violence

Interpreting five homicides in the South African lowveld

Isak Niehaus

This article points to the limitations of utilitarian theories of violence, as evident in the works of anthropologists who insist that all acts of violence either serve instrumental purposes (such as advancing one's own position) or expressive purposes (such as communicating key social ideas). Against the totalizing claims of such theories, the article observes that most homicides that occurred in the South African lowveld village where I conducted fieldwork research were the unanticipated consequence of men striking out in moments of anger. Although not the purposeful outcome of calculated conduct, these homicides were not however random. The high incidence of homicide can be explained in terms of Sahlins's concept of conjunctive agency, and by the co-presence of structural conditions of deprivation, ideologies of masculine domination, the wide prevalence of firearms, and the social enactment of rage.

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Dagmar Herzog

This article analyzes the evolution of sexual politics and cultures in post-unification Germany, tracing these through three stages. First is the more immediate aftermath, in the early to mid 1990s, of ostalgische consternation over the loss of what Easterners understood to be the special qualities of GDR sexual culture, analyzing this consternation in the context of the—mutually conflicting—fantasies that Easterners and Westerners had about each other, replete with Easterners' ideas about how capitalism deforms interhuman interactions and Westerners' ideas about the deformations caused by totalitarian surveillance. A second stage runs from the mid 1990s through to the early twenty-first century, and includes both the convergence between East and West on the governmental policy level and the growing similarities identified in Easterners' and Westerners' sexual habits and mores. The third stage concerns the more recent past of the last five years and emphasizes the paradoxical coexistence of, on the one hand, strong commitment (on both the governmental and popular levels) to liberal values of individual sexual self-determination and toleration of diversity and a general sex-positive climate with, on the other, tremendous anxiety about the rise of European Islam (with its purportedly intrinsic hostility to both homosexuality and female sexual independence) and about the precipitous decline of the German birthrate. Attention is also paid to the newest policy directions with regard to adolescent sexuality and age of consent laws, abortion access, and disability rights.

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Michael C. Reichert

Judy Y. Chu. 2014. When Boys Become Boys: Development, Relationships, and Masculinity. New York: New York University Press. 227 pp. ISBN: 978-0-8147-6480-0

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Jeffery Vacante

Christopher J. Greig. 2014. Ontario Boys: Masculinity and the Idea of Boyhood in Postwar Ontario, 1945-1960. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. Xxviii+182 pp. ISBN: 978-1-55458-900-5