HISTART 393-002

Undergraduate Seminar
Masculinities and Modernisms, 1860-1960

210 Tappan
T Th 2:30 PM-4:00 AM
3 Credit Seminar

When we speak of gender and sexuality in art, most often women are the focus of our study. This course seeks to investigate the construction of gender difference by way of masculinities, studio practices, and artistic representation in Europe and the United States between 1860 and 1960. As such, gender, race, class, sexuality, and nationality are considered contested terrains produced by artists and their audiences. While our focus is on the production and consumption of various "modernisms" and their visual culture, we will constantly ask how these practices are formulated upon hierarchies, exclusions, and mythologies. Weekly readings will guide discussions and writing assignments and consider broader themes:

  • The sex-ed and gendered experience of Western modernity (the flâneur and the flâneuse)
  • The autonomous individual and the myth of the (male) artist
  • "Perversions," biological devolution, and the bourgeois family order
  • Nostalgia, longing, and melancholy in hegemonic masculinities
  • Masculinity and psychoanalytic film theory: the male body as spectacle
  • Relations between homosocial desire, homosexual desire, and homophobia
  • Myths of mass culture (feminine) v. the avant-garde (masculine)
  • Constructions of American manhood and Nature
  • The continuous "crisis of masculinity": fragile, defensive, threatened, and at risk?
  • Disavowal and reclamation—or how masculinity can assimilate the "feminine"
  • Shifting definitions of hegemonic masculinities and counter discourses

HISTART Distribution Requirements: Europe and the US, Modern and Contemporary