Home

GenderSymposiumThe Legacy of Nineteenth-Century Gender Stereotypes in Contemporary Britain
(Edited volume by Barbara Leonardi under consideration with Palgrave)

One further contributor is needed in one the following clusters:

Unconventional Mothers of the Nation
Class, Gender, and the British Nation
Gender, Europe, and the British Empire
Undoing Hegemonic and Military Masculinities
Undoing the Heteronormative Family

If interested, please send an abstract to barbara.leonardi@stir.ac.uk

Main argument of the Collection

The aim of this collection is to explore the intersections of gender with class and race in the construction of national and imperial ideologies, the fluid transformation of these tropes from the Romantic to the Victorian period, and how the same stereotypes continue to resonate in the twenty-first century. By examining the re-signification of gender stereotypes in relation to class and race, and their contribution to the construction of national and imperial identities in the long nineteenth century, this volume seeks to shed new light on issues related to the perception of diversity in contemporary Britain, with particular attention to issues of misogyny, homophobia, and xenophobia.
The central idea of the collection is that perceptions of womanhood and motherhood are still the core around which all gender expectations are defined. This is not surprising, considering that in the nineteenth century the white, heterosexual family was the fundamental unit of the British nation, and middle-class women were the ones in control of its moral health as well as the preservers of its continuation through motherhood. In view of this, the volume will explore the impact of Edmund Burke’s family metaphor and his ideal of female domesticity on the formation of British national discourse; how it was legitimised, naturalised, challenged, resisted, and re-imagined; how in the nineteenth century ideologies of motherhood and mother country were challenged by historical cases of infanticide; and the effects of transgressive sexualities and queer identities on the conceptualisation of the heterosexual family as guarantee for the continuation of the nation. The central idea of the volume is to unearth the historical roots of the family metaphor in the construction of national and imperial ideologies; and to uncover the interests served by its specific discursive formation. A diachronic conversation that connects the past to the present will unveil similarities and differences, and will help to understand British identity as it is being renegotiated in the present. In this respect, it is significant to address the ways in which nineteenth-century gender stereotypes are being challenged and transformed by contemporary cultural productions, as constructions of national identities are being refigured and reconceptualised in the light of current social and cultural changes.

 

Gender Stereotypes in the Long Nineteenth Century Symposium

30 April 2016 , University of Stirling 

A one-day symposium entitled ‘Gender Stereotypes in the Long Nineteenth Century’ will be held at Stirling University in Scotland on Saturday, 30th April 2016, with the aim of exploring the intersections of gender with class and race in the construction of national and imperial ideologies, and the fluid transformation of these tropes from the Romantic to the Victorian period as well as their legacy in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

The symposium will explore the impact of Edmund Burke’s familial trope and his ideal of female domesticity on the formation of British national discourse, ideology of motherhood and mother country, the effects of female domesticity when challenged by transgressive sexualities, queer identities, and Orientalist stereotypes related to women in the construction of British imperialism.

Some speakers will focus on the destabilisation of gender boundaries both in literature and in medical fiction, where cross-dressing male nurses mingle with ‘unwomanly’ female doctors, and on the role of masculinity among surgeons and explorers in Britain and the United States.

Stereotypes of military manliness and the role of emotions in sentimental masculinity will also be examined, as well as the dynamics of gender, class, and race in relation to British national discourse’s attempts to expand and construct the British Empire.

By examining the ways in which the development and re-signification of male and female stereotypes contributed to constructions of national and imperial identities in the long nineteenth century, this symposium seeks to shed new light on issues related to race and xenophobia in contemporary Britain. A diachronic conversation that connects the past and the present will unveil similarities and differences, and will help to understand British identity as it is being renegotiated in the present. In this respect, it is significant to address the ways in which nineteenth-century gender stereotypes are being challenged or transformed by contemporary cultural productions, as constructions of national identities are being refigured and reconceptualised in the light of current social and cultural changes.

Confirmed Keynotes  

Prof. Holly Furneaux, Cardiff University, ‘Kind hearted gunmen? An emotional history of the Victorian military Man of Feeling’. 

Prof. Reina Lewis, London College of Fashion, UAL, ‘Still not part of ‘western’ modernity?: Muslim women, dressed embodiment, and alterity’.

The symposium is funded by the Division of Literature and Languages (University of Stirling), and by BARS (British Association for Romantic Studies) 

The costs for attendees will be £ 20. To reserve a place please follow the link: http://shop.stir.ac.uk/browse/extra_info.asp?compid=1&modid=1&deptid=8&catid=25&prodid=289

For more information contact the symposium convener: Dr Barbara Leonardi | barbara.leonardi@stir.ac.uk | Literature and Languages | School of Arts and Humanities | University of Stirling | Stirling FK9 4LA | Scotland | Tel: + 44 (0) 1786 467576 | Twitter: @DrBLeonardi 

Follow the Conversation on Twitter #Gender19C