Skip to main content

Duelling and the Performance of Masculinity

Questions

What were the components of masculinity for white men in the 19th-century USA?

In what ways does the study of fighting and duelling shed light on ideas about masculinity? How did duelling as a practice reflect the rise of democratic political ideas?

How different was the performance of masculinity in Mexico and in the American South? Compare and contrast the role of honour in shaping masculine identity

Readings

USA-General


Barker-Benfield, G.J., ‘The Spermatic Economy: a Nineteenth Century View of Sexuality’, in The American Family in Social-Historical Perspective, ed. Michael Gordon, St. Martin’s Press (New York, 1978). (Also in Feminist Studies, no 1:1 (1972).

Fiedler, Leslie, ‘Come Back to the Raft Ag’in, Huck Honey’, in An End to Innocence: Essays on Culture and Politics (New York, 1972 [1948]).

Rosenberg, Charles, ‘Sexuality, Class and Role in Nineteenth Century America’, American Quarterly, vol. 25 (1973), pp. 131-153.

Rotundo, Anthony, ‘Learning about Manhood: Gender Ideals and the Middle-Class Family in 19th-Century America’, in Manliness and Morality. Middle-Class Masculinity in Britain and America, eds. J.A. Mangan and J. Walvin (Manchester, 1987).

Rotundo, Anthony, American Manhood (New York, 1993), Introduction and Chapter 1: ‘Community to Individual’.

Wyatt-Brown, Bertram, Honor and Violence in the Old South, Oxford University Press (1986), especially Chapter 5: ‘Sexual Honor, Expectation and Shame’.

Vester, Katharina, 'Regime Change: Gender, Class and the Invention of Dieting in Post-Bellum America', Journal of Social History, vol. 44:1 (2010).

Young, Jeffrey, Domesticating Slavery: The Master Class in Georgia and South Carolina, 1670-1837, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, 1999).


USA-Duelling and Violence

Bruce, Dickson, Violence and Culture in the Antebellum South, University of Texas Press (Austin, c1979), Chapter 1: ‘The Southern Duel’.

Gorn, Elliott J., ‘‘Gouge and Bite, Pull Hair and Scratch’: The Social Significance of Fighting in the Southern Backcountry’, American Historical Review 90 (1985), pp. 18-43.

Greenberg, Kenneth, Honor and Slavery, Princeton University Press (Princeton, 1996).

Ireland, Robert, ‘The Libertine Must Die: Sexual Dishonour and the Unwritten Law in the Nineteenth-Century United States’, Journal of Social History, vol. 23 (1989).

McWhiney, Grady, Cracker Culture: Celtic Ways in the Old South (Alabama 1988

Wyatt-Brown, Bertram, Southern Honor: Ethics and Behavior in the Old South, Oxford University Press (Oxford, 1982), chapter 13: ‘Personal Strategies and Community Life: Hospitality, Gambling, and Combat’.


Latin America-Duelling and Violence

Braga-Pinto, César, 'Journalists, Capoeiras, and the Duel in Nineteenth-Century Rio de Janeiro', Hispanic American Historical Review, vol. 94:4 (2014).

Gayol, Sandra, “Honor Moderno’: The Significance of Honor in Fin-de-Siècle Argentina’, Hispanic American Historical Review, vol. 84:3 (2004).

Martin, Cheryl English, ‘Popular Speech and Social Order in Northern Mexico, 1650-1830’, Comparative Studies in Society and History, vol. 32:2 (1990).

Parker, D.S., ‘The Duelling Debate in Latin America, 1870-1920: Repress, Legalize or Just Look the Other Way’, Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, vol. 9 (1998).

Parker, David S., ‘Law, Honor, and Impunity in Spanish America: The Debate over Duelling, 1870-1920’, Law and History Review, Vol. 19:2 (Summer, 2001), pp. 311-341 (This is an expanded version of the previous item.)

Piccato, Pablo, ‘Politics and the Technology of Honor: Duelling in Turn-or-the-Century Mexico’, Journal of Social History, vol. 33:2 (1999), pp. 331-354.

Torrea, Juan Manuel, ‘El duelo en el siglo XIX’, Memorias de la Academia Nacional de Historia y Geografía [Mexico] 13:3 (1957), pp. 15-30.