Modern European Military Masculinity
Alexander Maxwell

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This course investigates political violence by examining, from a gendered perspective, the soldiers who perform it. It combines military history and gender theory, discusses how the military ethos functions, its utility in combat, the brutalizing effects of battle, and the significance of the fact that these processes have usually been experienced only by men. Discipline, socialization, and the question of atrocity are major themes. The course takes the German army as a case study, since the German army exemplifies both a military efficiency and the capacity for atrocity. The goal is to understand why military virtues form enduring and self-replicating systems of power: why they make sense to soldiers.

The readings for this course include military history, gender scholarship and a few primary sources. For each class period, students are expected to read, on average, 40 pages before each class session. Readings for two books span more than one class period.

Course Requirements:

Paper Proposal 10%

Paper: 30%

Midterm 20%

Final 20 %

Participation 20%

Paper: Students must submit a one-page paper proposal in week 6 describing (1) a primary source of the students choice and (2) a theoretical question which this primary source should address. Students unsure of what to write are encouraged to speak with the instructor as early as possible. The paper, due at the final exam, will be 12 pages long. Students who receive a poor grade on their paper proposals may make up the difference in their final paper. Research papers must represent original research, and draw on primary sources and then explain how these primary sources change our understanding of one of the ideas discussed in the course.

Midterm: The Midterm will include several ID questions and one essay. The teacher will distribute a list of sample essays and ID s the week before the test.

Final: The final exam will be an essay exam based on the secondary source readings. It will consist of several ID questions and two essays.

Attendance: is mandatory. Participation credit entails two things: the student must attend class, and the student must email the instructor a question for discussion about the readings that week. The instructor will gather all student questions onto a single sheet and distribute them at the beginning of class. Students receive one free absence; each subsequent absence will lower the attendance grade a full mark (A>B>C>D>F.) If a student fails the attendance portion of the class, she or he will automatically fail the class as a whole.

Introduction: Paper requirements, course requirements

Week 1 – Military History and Gender Studies

John Keegan "Old Unhappy Far-off things" The Face of Battle15-78 (63 pages)
Joane Nagel "Masculinity and nationalism: Gender and sexuality…" Ethnic Studies (21) 2, March 1998 (20 pages)

Week 2 – Discipline

Foucault Discipline and Punish "Docile Bodies" 135-169 (34 pages)
Theweleit vol. 2 Male Fantasies "Battle and the Body…" 176-206 30 pages)

Week 3 – Daily Military Life

Norman Dixon On the Psychology of Military Incompetence("‘Bullshit’ to Anti-Effeminacy")176-213 (37 pages)
John Luard History of the dress of the British Soldier vi-xii; Melissa Herbert, Camouflage isn’t only for Combat, 81-111;(36 pages)

Week 4 – Military Discipline

Readings online:
Zahari Stoyanov Extracts from notes on the Bulgarian Uprising Pages 1-50 (50 pages)

Week 5 – The Modern Battlefield

The World War One battlefield Ernst Jünger Storm of Steel, Guillemont, Somme Retreat, Regniéville, My Last Storm (~60 pages)
John Keegan "The Somme" The Face of Battle 204-284 (80 pages)

Week 6 – Live and Let Live: Resistance

Ashworth Trench Warfare: The Live and Let Live System

Week 7 – The Psychological Costs of Warfare

Judith Herman Trauma and Recovery Ch. 3 "Disconnection" 51-73 (22 pages)
Alan Feldman Formations of Violence 152-198 (46 pages) Paper Topics Due!!

Week 8 – Violence and Sexuality

Nikolić Ristanovic Women, Violence and War 47-77 (30 pages)
Theweleit vol. 1 "Sexual murder: Killing for pleasure" 183-226 (43 pages)

Week 9 – Explaining Violence

Daniel Goldhagen Hitler’s Willing Executioners "Exploring the population’s actions" 379-406 (25 pages)
Browning Ordinary Men ‘Conclusion’ 159-189 (30 pages)

Week 10 – East European Jewish men: A Case Study in Militarization?

Daniel Boyarin Unheroic Conduct "Goyim Naches" 33-80 (47 pages)
Boyarin Unheroic Conduct "The Colonial Drag" 271-310 (39 pages)

Week 11 – Soldier Attitudes Toward Women

Images of Women in Peace and War, MacDonal, ed. Theweleit vol. 1 Male Fantasies "Men and Women" 3-53 (50 pages)
McKechnie "Living with Images of a Fighting elite: Women and the foreign legion" 122-146 (22 pages)

Week 12 – Women as Soldiers

Olsson ed. Women and International Peacekeeping de Groot "A few Good Women: Gender Stereotypes, the military, and peacekeeping" 23-37 Karamé "Military women and International Peacekeeping" 85-96 (25 pages)
J. Erickson "Soviet Women at War" World War Two and the Soviet People Garrard, ed. 50-71 (36 pages).

Final Exam – Essays due