IHR Women’s History Seminar: Maritime Masculinities, 20 March 2015

February 2015

 Lower-Deck Masuclinities and the Plebeian Experience of the Naval Warship, 1756-1815

The historiography of late eighteenth-century naval seamen has frequently dichotomised their experience and outlook between that of obedient cog in the machine of empire and war, and an engaged revolutionary force.

This paper by Elin Jones from Queen Mary University London will examine the naval ship during this period as a lived quasi-institutional space in an attempt to analyse the material worlds of the naval seamen, and to elucidate how they understood themselves, and how they were understood by others, as men. The paper will hope to temper previous analyses, and will seek to ask what seamen as a labour-based group can tell us about plebeian gender history more widely.

Elin is a PhD student currently working on an AHRC funded CDA project at QMUL and the National Maritime Museum which attempts to write a material and spatial history of the Royal Naval Ship during the period 1756–1815. This project synthesises material, visual, and textual sources in order to unravel how ideas surrounding knowledge, violence, sedition, domesticity, and authority were materially and spatially configured, and what this can tell us about the gendered identities of those who lived aboard. She is interested in the ways in which objects and the use of space as an analytical tool can allow us to connect ship to shore, and to understand the ship as a site of the formation and contestation of different masculinities.

The Women’s History Seminar series is held fortnightly at the Institute of Historical Research in London on Fridays at 17.15 in Room 204.




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