Reconstructing Sexuality: The Politics of Sex and Manhood in the Civil War Era
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CitationDonnelly, Andrew. 2020. Reconstructing Sexuality: The Politics of Sex and Manhood in the Civil War Era. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractReconstructing Sexuality argues for the importance of sexuality in the politics of the Civil War era and for the importance of the Civil War in the nineteenth-century evolution of sexuality. The period’s fiction, more than evidence of this co-construction of political and sexual meaning-making, was a site where ideology crystallized into sexualized figures. The villains of antebellum fiction, such as the slaveholder rapist, the abolitionist predator, and the wartime bigamist, constituted a genealogy of sexual deviance that saw the late-century emergence of the Black male rapist and the male homosexual. In postbellum narratives, male homoeroticism evidenced the growing national sympathy for Southern white masculinity, while sanitizing an innocent white sexuality in opposition to criminal Black sexuality. As a whole, the dissertation explains how, by the end of the century, the politics of sex and manhood had made white men the victims of the Civil War and Black men the villains.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365712
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