The Gendering of Loyalty in the 17th-Century British Civil Wars

AHA Session 96
Friday, January 4, 2019: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
International South (Hilton Chicago, Second Floor)
John W. Marshall, Johns Hopkins University
Loyalty and Gender in Covenanted Scotland
Laura Stewart, University of York
Masculinity and Martyrdom in the 1641 Irish Rebellion
Joan Redmond, King's College London
Treason in the Family: Representing the Hothams
Rachel J. Weil, Cornell University

Session Abstract

The 17th-century civil wars in Ireland, Scotland and England produced not only agonizingly divided loyalties but laid open to debate the very definition of “loyalty.” Questions of gender, however, have as yet been left out of the otherwise rich studies of oathtaking, loyal addresses, associations, and theories of allegiance that proliferated in this period. This session looks at how gender affected the ways that political loyalty was experienced, demonstrated, valued or symbolically represented. Given that men were expected to sustain multiple loyalties (to guild, estate, king, church and family) whereas women were expected to focus loyalty exclusively on a patriarch, we can expect to find men and women handling conflicts of loyalty differently. Representations of loyalty and disloyalty were also gendered. We will ask: Did the longstanding association of women with duplicity affect their capacity to express loyalty? Was “loyalty” an unambiguously positive quality in a man, given its association with emotion and submission? How does loyalty relate to love and sacrifice, and how is its evaluation inflected by public/private distinctions? Did women and men handle conflicts of loyalty differently? Did distinctions of royalist and parliamentarian, between Catholic and protestant, or between Irish, Scottish and English contexts matter to how loyalty was defined and how it was connected to gender?
See more of: AHA Sessions