CfP: Men and masculinities in women’s emancipation movements (1960-1990) (ESSHC Vienna, 04/2014, Vienna); DL: 08.05.2013

CfP from Philippe De Wolf: I am putting together a panel for the Women and Gender Network of the 10th European Social Science History Conference (ESSHC) in Vienna, 23-26 April 2014. Submission deadline: 8 may 2013.

Description: From the late sixties until the eighties of the 20th century, women’s emancipation was promoted by various feminist movements. These differed in the definition of the nature and the extent of women’s subordination and in their political strategies. Divergent feminist ideologies emerged, ranging from liberal to Marxist and radical schools. The participation – or the absence – of men constituted an important factor of diversity among feminist groups. The topic of male feminist consciousness and of male participation in women’s emancipation movements is a very innovative subject in historical as well as sociological research. It can be studied from different (complementary) angles.

Firstly, the perception of men, masculinity and male feminism by female feminists provides a crucial context to understand the existing potential for male activism. Some feminist movements preferred to remain women-only, in order to preserve a safe space for women. Other movements were accessible for both sexes, but the precise role assigned to men was often subject of debate.

Secondly, the concrete role of men in feminist groups needs to be examined. Men had a powerful position in some groups (such as the Dutch Dolle Minas), while being excluded from others (such as the Women’s liberation movement in the USA or in France). Some were positively influenced by female separatism to form „pro-feminist“ men’s groups, in order to oppose sexism while respecting women’s need for independent organizing. Others collaborated closely with feminists as coalition partners from within other social movements (extreme-left, antiracist movements).

Thirdly, the personal motivations and gender identity of male feminists deserve close attention. To what extent was men’s commitment to gender equality in the period under consideration due to personal relationships with women, to sexual orientation, or to the adherence to feminist theory? What impact did men’s commitment to women’s rights have on the definition of their own masculine identity, and on their relationships with women and other men? How did they define new forms of masculinity, in order to challenge hegemonic, patriarchal and/or homophobic masculinities?

Possible topics for paper proposals:

  • representations of men and masculinities in feminist discourses
  • masculinity studies, masculinity crises, „new man“-discourses, counter-hegemonic masculinities: relationship with women’s emancipation
  • political and hierarchical position of men in mixed-sex feminist groups or in pro-feminist men’s groups
  • impact of male feminism on masculine identity and on relationships with women
  • network-analysis of male feminists‘ involvement in other social movements
  • resistance to male feminism by female feminists
  • resistance to male feminism by hegemonic masculine or by anti-feminist practices and social realities

My own paper will deal with the ideological monographs of male feminist authors in France, the Netherlands and the USA (1960-1990).

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you are interested to participate or if you have any questions.

Submission of abstracts: This is a panel proposal for the 10th European Social Science History Conference (ESSHC) organized by the International Institute for Social History in Vienna University, Austria, 23-26 April 2014. You are invited to send your paper proposals to before 8 May 2013, in the form of a 300 to 500 word abstract, in English.

The abstract needs to state clearly what the research questions will be, what sources and methodology will be used in the analysis and what the (preliminary) eventual argument of the paper will be. Please include a title, your affiliation and a short biographical statement. The selected paper proposals will be submitted to the ESSHC Program Committee before 15 May 2013. The final paper is due on 7 April 2014. At the conference, each participant will have 15 to 20 minutes to present. The complete session lasts two hours, of which at least thirty minutes should be reserved for discussion. For further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me by email. For general information on the 10th European Social Science History conference 2014, see the website of the ESSHC:

Philippe De Wolf
Ph. D. fellow of the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO)
Ghent University, History Department
Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 35 (room 130.023)
9000 Ghent, Belgium
Tel. +32 (0)9 331 02 79


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