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A crisis of masculinity? Re-writing the history of shell-shock and gender in First World War Britain

Loughran, TL (2013) 'A crisis of masculinity? Re-writing the history of shell-shock and gender in First World War Britain.' History Compass, 11 (9). 727 - 738. ISSN 1478-0542

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Abstract

Provisional Abstract: Shell-shock is a powerful symbol of the devastating effects of the First World War on men. Until recently, scholars of gender and trauma tended to follow the lines established by Elaine Showalter?s interpretation of shell-shock as a crisis of masculinity. However, over the past decade, historians have investigated different aspects of war trauma, and have placed it in different social and cultural contexts. This essay examines recent histories of masculinity and male war experience, and discussions of female war trauma and military nursing. It argues that historically and historiographically, shell-shock has been defined as a masculine illness, and this constitutes a ?blind spot? in historical discourse. Historians must explicitly articulate and justify their definitions of war trauma, incorporate the possibility of female trauma into their histories, and move beyond gender to explore the multiple contexts within which contemporaries understood trauma.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D501 World War I
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > History, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2017 11:09
Last Modified: 21 Aug 2017 11:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/20229

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