"The essays in Southern Manhood are joined by an attention to race and evolving market forces. What emerges from this are often subtle arguments attuned to southern men's overlapping concerns with class and racial identity as they negotiated their position as men within local societies."
—Matthew Basso, editor of Across the Great Divide: Cultures of Manhood in the American West
Until now, the emerging subdiscipline of southern masculinity studies has been informed mainly by conclusions drawn from research on how the planter class engaged issues of honor, mastery, and patriarchy. But what about men who didn’t own slaves or were themselves enslaved? These essays illuminate the mechanisms through which such men negotiated with overarching conceptions of masculine power. Here the reader encounters Choctaw elites struggling to maintain manly status in the market economy, black and white artisans forging rival communities and competing against the gentry for social recognition, slave men on the southern frontier balancing community expectations against owner domination, and men in a variety of military settings acting out community expectations to secure manly status.
As Southern Manhood brings definition to an emerging subdiscipline of southern history, it also pushes the broader field in new directions. All of the essayists take up large themes in antebellum history, including southern womanhood, the advent of consumer culture and market relations, and the emergence of sectional conflict.
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