My new book, Karl Barth and the Resurrection of the Flesh, is out. Readers concerned with gender studies will find interesting nuggets, though the title deals much more explicitly with theology and history. Check it out!
Archive for the ‘Administrative’ Category
The first National Conference for Campus-Based Men’s Gender Equality and Anti-violence Groups happens this November 6-7, 2009 at St. John’s University (MN). Various profeminist, egalitarian groups have been meeting at the Men and Masculinities Conference for decades, but this conference marks a fresh attempt to show a unified front of these sub-movements. Key scholars, including the likes of Michael Kaufman, Harry Brod, Jackson Katz and Michael Kimmel are helping to pull together this effort. The conference abstract:
Across the country, groups of male students are making their voices heard! More and more men are finding the courage to say “no” to ideas of manhood and relations between the sexes that aren’t good for women and aren’t good for men as well. They’re speaking out against date rape and violence against women. They support gender equality. Some work through residence life or student activities offices, others through women’s centers and counseling programs. Some are campus branches of national organizations like MVP, White Ribbon, Men Can Stop Rape, 1 in 4, or V-Men. These men face common problems: How to have an impact? How to find positive ways to get their message to other campus men? How to deal with backlash, to work in partnership with women’s groups, to recruit and sustain their groups? For the first time, campus-based pro-feminist men’s groups from across the country are meeting together. To share resources, trade their best ideas, discuss strategies, and simply find out what’s happening on other campuses.
More information can be found at www.michaelkaufman.com/campusmensconference. They have also issued a call for papers.
This conference strikes me as having some potential to expand the profeminist men’s movement, particularly in its attempt to express positive masculine identifiers. The movement has had a difficult time rallying too much support in the past, in my opinion, because it has defined masculinity in so many negative terms: against sexism, against rape, against discrimination, against homophobia, etc. Fighting for equality has been their theme, of course – but how is this a gendered identity? How do men struggle, how are men struggling for equality in a different way than women? Perhaps some of the men will be able to engage the nature-arguments and yet say, “Our masculinity is to fight a distinct war within the baser, inherent tendencies among men.” Perhaps at this conference some truly brave men will be able to say, “Look, guys, we can’t avoid developing some kind of masculinity, even a masculinity vis-a-vis women, so let’s start working towards some healthy concepts of equality-in-distinction.” Perhaps.
Last fall I had an article published in Literature and Theology, a pieced entitled, “Saving Edward Taylor’s Purse: Masculine Devotion in the Preparatory Meditations.” Knowing that many of the readers of this blog don’t have access to academic journals, I’m devoting the next two posts to the main thrust of my argument.
Unless you’ve studied American Puritanism or American poetry in some depth, chances are you aren’t familiar with Edward Taylor. He was a Puritan minister living in the late 1600s in the fledgling frontier town of Westfield, Massachusetts. He is a curious figure for various reasons, not least among them that he opted to write hundreds of esoteric, erotic, strongly gendered poems for private devotion in preparation for administering the Lord’s Supper. What I bring out in my essay is his struggle not only for spiritual authenticity, but for his very masculinity. The next two posts will elaborate how Taylor seeks to subject himself to God via a feminine persona, and simultaneously to temper radically his masculine authority by risking his “genitals” with God’s masculine initiation.
Welcome to Men on the Moon, a blog devoted to issue concerning men, masculinities and the manifold expressions of gender. As you may know, since the 1990s the field of men’s studies has exploded, producing literary criticism, sociological reports, psychological insights, even biomedical advances. While the field has benefited deeply from women’s and feminist studies, it is still in its nascent stage, and so an exciting place to be doing work. Men’s studies asks, on a critical level, the questions most of have asked at some time in our lives: What makes a “real” man? Is there one type of masculinity, or many? Are fathers important? Why do so many men struggle to treat women well? Are gay men different than straight? Why do so many men addicted to drugs, video games, porn, etc.? What comes from nature, and what from nurture? I invite you to ponder these important questions with me over the next months and years.
Why “Men on the Moon”? For various reasons. It has a lot to do with the kind of pantheon Americans have set up with astronauts, especially the early “pioneers” of outerspace. It summons a kind of boldness (even the irrational boldness) which I love about so many of the men I know. It also suggests the socio-political tones of male privilege – “One small step for man . . .” – and yet acknowledges the way many men are reinventing themselves, largely in relation to the “lunar” half of human society, women. And so on and so forth.
I hope to comment on a broad range of issues. My studies in the past have revolved around men and religion, so there will be a disproportionate number of posts with that theme. This is more of a forum than an academic outlet for me, and should be treated as such. Any opinions spilled on this site are penultimate; do not quote me on your undergrad paper! And, intentionally or unintentially, some of the posts will cause sparks. It’s only a matter of time before I say something misleading or insensitive or just flat-out wrong. Let me say right at the fore that my own sensibilities tend toward a kind of radical moderation: I tend to believe that culture is largely responsible for generating masculinity codes, and that there are better and healthier expressions of masculinity than others; I also believe that there are some patterns, influenced by biological design, that should be reckoned with, and even celebrated. In other words, I tend to have something to offend everyone. For this I beg your mercy and your patience.
Feel free to bookmark this page. And welcome to the blog.