For a published version of this course syllabus, see Radical History Review 64 (Winter 1996), 19-30.

HISTORY OF MANHOOD IN AMERICA, 1750-1940

History 52
Swarthmore College
Prof. Bruce Dorsey
Spring1999

This course is designed to allow students to explore the meanings of manhood and the various constructions of masculine identity in America between the late-18th century and the beginning of the 20th century. The negative images (opposites) against which manhood has been constructed, such as womanhood, boyhood, dependency, slavery, and racial and class difference, will be examined. Topics include politics, work, family, sexuality, race, war and violence, sports, drinking, and the myth of the self-made man. It is a course on the cultural and social history of gender in America.

 

REQUIRED READINGS:

The following books are required readings and available at the College Bookstore:

COURSE REQUIREMENTS:

Reading and Class Participation: Students are expected to attend all class meetings, including films and guest lectures scheduled outside of class. The following is the History Department policy on attendance: "Students are required to attend all classes for the successful completion of the course. Unexcused absences will result in a lower grade." Students are encouraged to complete the assigned readings before every class meeting, and be prepared for discussion. Students should have all the reading completed before a discussion meeting.

Short Papers: Two short papers (6-8 pages) will be written over the course of the semester. The essays will be based primarily on the optional reading list, but should also try to integrate the class lectures, discussion, and assigned readings. The short paper will allow students to do in-depth studies of topics for which the course can only provide a rudimentary exposure. Students can decide among a choice of topics based on the optional reading list. The short papers are not designed to be research papers, but rather analytical essays integrating assigned and optional readings. (A handout will be distributed outlining the expectations and topics for the short papers.)

First Paper Due: February 22. Second Paper Due: April 19.

Document Discovery and Analysis: Each student will write a brief paper (3-4 pages) on an historical document that they discovered that was relevant and revealing for the history of masculinity in America between 1750 and 1940. A copy, or a brief synopsis, of the document must be appended to the paper. Students will then analyze the gendered meanings inherent within the document and relate it to the material covered during this course. Students will be evaluated based on the originality, creativeness, and ingenuity in finding a document, and on their historical analysis of that document. Assistance will be given in locating sources of possible documents.

Examinations: There will be an in-class midterm examination and a final examination on the date and time scheduled by the College Registrar. The exams will be based on the assigned readings, class lectures and discussions.

CLASS SCHEDULE:

Abbreviations: (O) Optional Book at Bookstore; (H) Handout; (R) Reserve; (RB) Reserve Binder; * Primary source document

(WEEK 1)

Jan. 18 INTRODUCTION TO THE COURSE

Jan. 20 MANHOOD AND THE STUDY OF GENDER

Required Reading:

Jan. 22 MANHOOD IN COLONIAL & REVOLUTIONARY AMERICA

Required Reading:

Optional Reading:


(WEEK 2)

Jan. 25 INDUSTRIALIZATION & CAPITALISM: MEN, WOMEN, AND WORK

Required Reading:

Optional Reading:

Jan. 27 THE DILEMMAS OF 19TH-CENTURY WHITE MANHOOD

Required Reading:

Optional Reading:

Jan. 29 DISCUSSION


(WEEK 3)

Feb. 1 SLAVERY AND AFRICAN AMERICAN MANHOOD

Required Reading:

Optional Reading:

Feb. 3 WHITE SOUTHERN MANHOOD

Required Reading:

Feb. 5 DISCUSSION


(WEEK 4)

Feb. 8 MEN AND WOMEN IN THE WEST

Required Reading:

Feb. 10 FILM: IN THE WHITE MAN'S IMAGE.

Feb. 12 DISCUSSION


(WEEK 5)

Feb. 15 URBAN MANHOOD BEFORE THE CIVIL WAR

Required Reading:

Feb. 17 BOYHOOD, YOUTH, AND REFORM MOVEMENTS

Required Reading:

Optional Reading:

Feb. 19 DISCUSSION


(WEEK 6)

Feb. 22 IMAGES OF MANHOOD IN THE AMERICAN RENAISSANCE

(FIRST SHORT PAPER DUE)

Required Reading:

Optional Reading:

Feb. 24 WAR, VIOLENCE, AND THE AMERICAN MALE

Required Reading:

Optional Reading:

Feb. 26 DISCUSSION


(WEEK 7)

Mar. 1 LATE 19TH-CENTURY "CRISIS" IN MASCULINITY?

Mar. 3 MID-TERM EXAMINATION

Mar. 5 NO CLASS


Spring Break Mar. 8-12


(WEEK 8)

Mar. 15 TURN-THE-CENTURY TRANSITION IN WHITE, MIDDLE-CLASS MASCULINITY

Required Reading:

Mar. 17 STRENUOUS, PASSIONATE MANHOOD

Required Reading:

Optional Reading:

Mar. 19 DISCUSSION


(WEEK 9)

Mar. 22 LABOR AND IMMIGRANT MEN

Required Reading:

Optional Reading:

Mar. 24 PROFESSIONS AND THE EXCLUSION OF WOMEN

Required Reading:

Mar. 26 FILM: LOS MINEROS.


(WEEK 10)

Mar. 29 NO CLASS -- (Work on Second Paper)

Mar. 31 DISCUSSION

Apr. 2 WOMEN, COURTSHIP, AND SEX: MALE-FEMALE SEXUALITY

Required Reading:

Optional Reading:


(WEEK 11)

Apr. 5 FAMILY LIFE: MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE

Required Reading:

Apr. 7 FAMILY LIFE: FATHERHOOD

Required Reading:

Optional Reading:

Apr. 9 DISCUSSION


(WEEK 12)

Apr. 12 MALE-MALE INTIMACY

Required Reading:

Optional Reading:

Apr. 14 HOMOSEXUALITY AND GAY MANHOOD

Required Reading:

Optional Reading:

Apr. 16 DISCUSSION


(WEEK 13)

Apr. 19 SPORTS AND RECREATION

(Second Short Paper Due)

Required Reading:

Optional Reading:

Apr. 21 RELIGION

Required Reading:

Optional Reading:

Apr. 23 DISCUSSION


(WEEK 14)

Apr. 26 THE MALE REVOLT AGAINST THE BREADWINNER

Apr. 28 CONCLUSIONS: MASCULINITY IN THE LATE 20TH CENTURY

Apr. 30 NO-CLASS -- FILM TO BE SCHEDULED DURING THE WEEK