Anxious Masculinities in the Age of Empire

AHA Session 182
Saturday, January 6, 2018: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM
Marriott Ballroom, Salon 3 (Marriott Wardman Park, Lobby Level)
Tracey Rizzo, University of North Carolina at Asheville
Antoinette Burton, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Session Abstract

Pathbreaking scholarship on imperial masculinities over the last two decades has compelled historians to ask new questions about relationships between colonizer and colonized and the construction of masculine identities in the context of complex racial hierarchies at home and abroad. In Bodies in Contact: Rethinking Colonial Encounters in World History (2005), Antoinette Burton and Tony Ballantyne emphasize “the centrality of bodies--raced, sexed, classed and ethnicized bodies--as sites through which imperial and colonial power was imagined and exercised.” The papers assembled for this presidential session describe these processes in the French, British, and US empires of the early 20th century. They identify white male anxieties in imperial bureaucracies and armies, suggesting that on the ground colonizers revealed vulnerabilities which could at once mitigate and stoke an array of violences inflicted on the self and on others. Collectively, these papers shed new light on the multiple identities of male colonizers whose interactions reveal ambivalences in their relationships as well as their self perception. While this year’s conference theme focuses on “race, ethnicity and nationalism in global perspective,” we conclude that intersections between race, ethnicity, and gender underpin the perhaps ironically linked evolution of contemporary nationalism and globalization.
NB: This is the Presidential Session, per Stovall
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