What Should Historians Do with Masculinity? Reflections on Nineteenth-Century Britain

TitleWhat Should Historians Do with Masculinity? Reflections on Nineteenth-Century Britain
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsTosh, John
EditorTosh, John
Book TitleManliness and Masculinities in Nineteenth-Century Britain: Essays on Gender, Family and Empire

In the space of barely fifteen years, the history of masculinity has become an important dimension of social and cultural history. Here Tosh brings together nine key articles which he has written over the past ten years. These pieces document the aspirations of the first contributors to the field, and the development of an agenda of key historical issues which have become central to our conceptualising of gender in history. Later essays take up the issue of periodisation and the relationship of masculinity to other historical identities and structures, particularly in the context of the family. The last two essays, published for the first time, approach British imperial history in a fresh way. They argue that the empire needs to be seen as a specifically male enterprise, answering to masculine aspirations and insecurities. This leads to illuminating insights into the nature of colonial emigration and the popular investment in empire during the era the New Imperialism.

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