What is the history of manhood in our country, and what are the issues that confront it today? This course explored aspects of American masculinity with the help of scholarly and popular sources. We considered some earlier forms of American manhood and then looked at how they have been transformed or replaced with something new. We traced the appearances of specific figures--like the war hero, the self-made man, or the family man--and examined how these figures are changing. We also explored how masculinity exists in a complex relationship with other cultural issues, including femininity, class, race, body image, notions of rationality, and uses of technology.
Student research papers tended to cluster around several types of masculinity as we found them in texts from popular culture. After the papers were written, the authors divided up into groups and discussed their findings. The web pages gathered here represent the collective arguments that resulted from their conversations. The research papers are also available here for those readers interested in more in-depth case studies of the masculinities our classes uncovered.
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