Beyond the Coffee House: Masculinities and Social Spaces in the Long Eighteenth Century
Queen Mary University of London, 5th June 2015
This conference seeks to reassess the masculine ‘types’ which have traditionally been associated with eighteenth-century historiography through locating men in different types of associative space. Through an examination of spaces in which men interacted outside of the traditionally discussed coffee-house, assembly room, and political public sphere, this conference hopes to reconsider the parameters within which we might frame eighteenth-century masculinities. This might extend to the workplace, the street, the alehouse, the club, the school, or the university.
Although the study of eighteenth-century masculinity has progressed greatly in the last decade, the hegemony of politeness and the cultural historical bent has been tenacious. This has led to an abundance of studies on sensibility, politeness, performance, and self-fashioning, but few on social practice, and even fewer on the histories of lower-middling and plebeian men.
Through a series of papers considering masculinity as a construct founded on quotidian social interaction as well as cultural prescription, the conference will aim to find new terms with which we can discuss the eighteenth-century man. Furthermore, the discussion borne from these papers will consider issues of continuity and change in terms of masculine identity over the period, as well as creating a comparative framework for masculinities in different settings and across socio-economic boundaries.
Papers might address issues such as:
• How masculine identity was formed and consolidated through routines and interactions within the work place.
• Masculine interaction and performance within social associative spaces such as the club; the scientific society; the chop-house; the ale-house; the street brawl; etc.
• Reassessing masculine interaction within traditionally termed ‘public’ spaces.
• Masculinity within institutional and quasi-institutional spaces.
• Masculinity and daily ritual/routine.
• The limits of self-fashioning and polite performance in the history of eighteenth-century masculinity.
Papers of no more than 20 minutes in length are welcome from PhD and early career researchers, as well as established academics.
Please send abstracts of 300 words to Elin Jones and Ruth Mather via firstname.lastname@example.org by the 20th April.