Gender, War and the Nation in the Period of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars-European Perspectives

TitleGender, War and the Nation in the Period of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars-European Perspectives
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsAaslestad, Katherine, Karen Hagemann, and Judith Miller
JournalEuropean History Quarterly
Volume37
Issue4
Pagination501-506
Date Published10/2007
Abstract

The articles in this issue challenge us to rethink the conflation of masculinity, citizenship and warfare during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic conflicts. The period has long been considered a foundational moment of modern state-building, nationalism, and political rights. Yet if scholars of the era have identified key transformations in understandings of gender in many areas of late eighteenthcentury life – labour, the family, legal codes and cultural practices – the place of women in the period’s warfare has not received the same attention.9 That the late eighteenth-century ideologies (republicanism, liberalism, and capitalism, especially) generated concepts of the autonomous, rights-bearing citizen, however, makes such an investigation all the more necessary. Across Europe, the drafting of constitutions and civil codes, as well as the critical role played by both men and women in civic activities and political clubs, forced those societies to ponder the limits of the equality that new ideologies proclaimed. Warfare, which altered everyday life as it recast the relationship between the individual and the state, offers an extreme vantage point from which to consider the gendered nature of citizenship at the turn of the nineteenth century. While combat had always been primarily a masculine activity, the nascent vision of the citizen – a committed and active defender of the nation – raised precisely the question of whether female loyalty to the country would entail the same responsibilities and provide women the same rights as their husbands, brothers and fathers.

URLhttp://ehq.sagepub.com/content/37/4/501.full.pdf
Short TitleGender, War and the Nation in the Period of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars
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