CFA: Making Masculinity: Craft, Gender, and Material Production in the Long Nineteenth Century
Guest Editors: Dr Katie Faulkner (The Courtauld Institute of Art and Arcadia University) Dr Freya Gowrley (University of Edinburgh)
This special issue of Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies will use ‘craft’ as a framework for understanding how various forms of masculinity were constructed and expressed during the long nineteenth century (1789-1914) in Britain and internationally.
Narratives focusing on the heroic male artist and privileging the ‘fine art’ over the ‘decorative’ emerged in the nineteenth century and were perpetuated by modernist writers and formalist art historians throughout the twentieth century. Yet the continuing preoccupation with the male genius and his masterpieces has been challenged by feminist interventions in art historical scholarship, often by reintroducing the significance of craft, and its female practitioners, into histories of material production. This endeavour has found a particular ally in material culture studies. Unburdened by art historical divisions between the fine and decorative arts, high art and craft, a substantial literature on the relationship between women and material culture in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries has recently emerged (see for example Maureen Daly Goggin and Beth Fowkes Tobin’s four-part edited collection on Women and Things: Gendered Material Strategies, 1750-1950 (2009), Material Women, 1750-1950: Consuming Desires and Collecting Practices (2009), Women and the Material Culture of Needlework and Textiles, 1750-1950 (2009), and Women and the Material Culture of Death (2013)). Despite this historiographical richness, the figure of the male crafter is noticeably absent from the history of nineteenth-century art and culture, aside from notable exceptions associated with the Arts and Crafts Movement, such as William Morris and Charles Robert Ashbee, and organisations like the Art Worker’s Guild.
Nevertheless, the ideas and practices of craft permeated the very fabric of everyday life in the nineteenth century. As a material category, craft encompasses a diverse range of objects, the production of which was central to a number of professional and personal masculine identities. Produced within or outside of the art academy or studio, made singly or collaboratively, and used to express both public and private selves, craft provides a compelling metaphor for thinking about how nineteenth-century masculinity was itself ‘made’. Focusing on objects and figures that have previously been overlooked within scholarship, the issue will reveal forgotten narratives and ignored identities, thereby providing an alternative material record of masculinity in the long nineteenth century.
This interdisciplinary special issue will explore the material and metaphorical role of craft in constructing nineteenth-century masculinities, enriching an already vibrant secondary literature on gender and material culture. Potential topics might include, but are not limited to:
- tensions between domestic practices and professional craftsmanship
- collaboration and homosociability
- craft and queer masculinities
- craft and emotion
- craft and recuperation
- the arts and crafts movement
- craft made by prisoners, soldiers, and sailors
- craft as an elite hobby/craft as a labouring class pursuit
- craft in the age of mechanical reproduction
- craft and dress
- craft as/and self-fashioning
- craft as activism
- the idea of masculinity as ‘crafted’
We encourage submissions of 5,000-8,000 words on any aspect of the relationship between masculinity and craft during the period 1789-1914. Submission guidelines for Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies are available here. Submissions that are accepted will be subject to blind peer-review. Deadline for completed manuscripts is 30th October 2017. Please send all manuscripts and queries/abstracts to email@example.com
Images: Rodolphe Christen, George Sim in His Workshop, Aberdeen, 1890, oil on canvas. Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums & J.M.W. Turner, An Artists’ Colourman’s Workshop, c. 1807, oil on wood. Tate.