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    ABSTRACT: ‘Women’s Secrets’ have long been the focus of gender and medical history for the late medieval and early modern periods at the expense of investigation into male corporeality.1 Contemporary concerns over sexual difference and the generation of healthy progeny have focused historians’ attention primarily on to the female body, especially the uterus, as a locus of contested secrets about female interiority and the mysteries of reproduction.2 As Thomas Laqueur and more recently Edward Behrend-Martinez and Katharine Park have argued, this may be the result, in part, of a relative lack of early modern curiosity about the male body by comparison with the glut of interest in the elusive, secretive female body, which was so intimately connected with paternity and patriarchy.3 Rather than probing the depths of the early modern male body many scholars have instead turned their attention to socially-constructed masculinity; to representations of male corporeality and to the exploration of the impact of changing ideas of civility and sociability on ideals of manliness, rather than the actual physical embodiment of manhood.4 This is especially surprising since, contrary to Laqueur’s argument that gender overrode physical sex in this period, the ‘dividends of masculinity’ – control of family, property and participation in the civic community – were directly linked to proof of physical potency through the engendering of progeny in marriage emphasizing the link between patriarchy and the male body.5 Although the history of men’s bodies is beginning to be incorporated into histories of bodies more generally, this interest is largely anglocentric, and little work has been done on either masculinity or its embodiment in early modern France.6 Moreover, much of the existing historiography of the male body, influenced by the emphasis on women’s secrets, is skewed towards a fixed, generic, stable but ‘little-defined norm’7 of masculine corporeality against which the leaky, grotesque, mysterious and deceptive female body was mapped. The focus risks the imposition of a single, dominant interpretation of masculinity, and indeed of the male body, at the expense of a more nuanced picture of embodied masculinities. Furthermore, as this article will show, the male body was often no more straightforward or transparent than its female counterpart. The equivocal male body was no less perilous in patriarchal terms than the secrets of women. Male bodies, just like female bodies, were ‘contested sites’ and the repositories of social and cultural expectations.8 The obvious male counterpart to the uterus is the penis. Yet the penis, as opposed to its cultural construction the phallus, has received limited and often reductionist attention, assimilating possession of a penis to the man in the same way that early women’s history was criticized for perpetuating the equation of woman with her uterus.9 For example, a statement such as Laqueur’s that ‘Renaissance doctors and lay-people differentiated between the genital organs of males and females, and those with a penis were designated men’, glosses over the practical ambiguities of the male body, ignoring the issue of functionality.10 Emphasis on the performativity of the penis has been explored to some extent through the ‘crisis in masculinity’ model, advocates of which suggest that there is a particularly strong case to argue in the French context whereby repeated female regencies and the inability of successive male monarchs to impregnate their queens and so ensure the continuation of the monarchy and political stability were interpreted by political pamphleteers as the ‘castration’ and ‘emasculation’ of the country.11 However, this model oversimplifies the relationship between patriarchy and masculinity and only incorporates elite political and religious concerns, neglecting socio-economic issues and equally prominent contemporary medical and legal debates about what constituted manhood. Whilst revealing anxieties about the male body and the male role, which certainly existed, a penis-centred definition of masculinity fails to take account of the wider context. Concerns about the embodiment of masculinity were not restricted to the figure of the sterile, impotent sodomitical monarch, but extended to wider issues about inheritance and the role of marriage and the family in Catholic Europe. Linked to this were concerns about population growth, healthy generation and economic development.12 Marriage as the marker of...
    History Workshop Journal 09/2009; DOI:10.1093/hwj/dbp007
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    ABSTRACT: This article explores the obstacles faced by the female medical expert in the early modern courtroom through a close reading of three case studies: Marie Garnier, expert midwife tried for false testimony in 1665, and Angélique Perrotin and Barbe-Françoise D'Igard, accused of false accusation of rape and infant substitution, respectively, in the 1730s. The difficulties of determining the veracity of the corporeal signs of a crime were particularly acute with regard to the reproductive female body, which was perceived to be less reliable than its male counterpart. The ability of the female medical expert to accurately and truthfully interpret such signs was also questionable, and at times she seems to have been as much "on trial" as the bodies of those she examined.
    Bulletin of the history of medicine 02/2008; 82(1):86-108. DOI:10.1353/bhm.2008.0039
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    ABSTRACT: As a result of the incomplete English conquest, the relationship between the English in Ireland (the Anglo-Irish) and the native Irish is a major theme in the history of Ireland in the later middle ages. Since these connections were negotiated locally rather than centrally, each relationship is as individual as the Anglo-Irish lords and Irish leaders who negotiated them. This article explores the relationships between the Desmond Geraldines and two Irish dynasties which maintained semi-autonomous kingdoms to the north and southwest of the earldom of Desmond: the Uí Bhriain (O'Briens) and the Mic Charthaigh (Mac Carthys). The Desmond Geraldines developed relationships not just with the ruling lines but also with cadet branches of these dynasties. The connections which formed between the Desmond Geraldines and these Irish lineages demonstrate several of the key types of relationships which developed throughout Ireland as well as indicating the importance these associations played in both maintaining and disrupting the stability of the English lordship in Ireland.
    Journal of Medieval History 03/2006; 32(1-32):54-68. DOI:10.1016/j.jmedhist.2005.12.003
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    ABSTRACT: In 1297 a parliament was convened at Dublin one of the main purposes of which was to defend more effectively the borders of the English lordship of Ireland. The conquest of Ireland had never been complete. Several of the pre-conquest kingdoms survived beyond the effective edge of the English lordship and elsewhere the actions of conquistador and settler had pushed the native Irish up into the hills. Consequently, the settler population in many parts of Ireland lived in close proximity to areas under Gaelic control. This was not a particular problem in the eastern province of Leinster until the 1270s when the Irish of the Wicklow mountains began to raid settler manors. It has recently been suggested that the effects of this ‘Gaelic revival’ and the legislation passed at the Dublin parliament to deal with its effects led several English lords to cut their landholding ties with Ireland. This article questions how important a factor conflict actually was in the decision-making processes of such English lords by examining their withdrawal from Ireland in a wider context. It concludes by pointing out that withdrawals from a landholding community were not necessarily negative in their effect or cause.
    Journal of Medieval History 03/2006; 32(1-32):18-26. DOI:10.1016/j.jmedhist.2005.12.005
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    ABSTRACT: This article examines how the employment of household knights strengthened the communication network between Dublin and Westminster, and suggests that the deployment of household knights who were intimates of the king in Ireland shows that Edward I was more interested in his lordship than is usually acknowledged. Detailed analysis also reveals that the knights retained of ‘the king's household’ in Ireland in the mid twelve-seventies were not justiciar's knights, as is usually assumed, but members of an Irish-based royal household. This discovery challenges assumptions about the personal nature of the bond between a king and the knights of his household.
    Historical Research 05/2004; 77(196):161 - 177. DOI:10.1111/j.0950-3471.2004.00205.x
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    ABSTRACT: This article argues that the classical distinction between civic and ethnic forms of national identity has proved too schematic to come to terms with the dynamic nature of social and political processes. This has caused difficulties particularly for those historians and social scientists studying particular national movements rather than concentrating on a handful of thinkers and intellectuals or taking a broadly comparative approach. As an alternative to the classical model, I propose to distinguish between, on the one hand, the mechanisms which social actors use as they reconstruct the boundaries of national identity at a particular point in time; and, on the other, the symbolic resources upon which they draw when they reconstruct these boundaries.
    Nations and Nationalism 03/2003; 9(2):173 - 193. DOI:10.1111/1469-8219.00081
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    ABSTRACT: John Balliol’s defiance of Edward I in 1296 saw the beginning of a century of intermittent warfare and raiding on the Anglo-Scottish borders. It might be expected that this would have led to a heavy casualty rate amongst the border gentry, but, in fact, the conventions of fourteenth-century chivalry and the nature of the war worked to keep fatalities to a surprisingly low level. The chivalric ethos and the customs of war ensured that prisoners were well treated, and that ransoms were not too exorbitant, while the practice of allowing prisoners to substitute hostages ensured that their captivity was frequently only of short duration; furthermore, English prisoners were often able to solicit aid from the king in paying their ransoms. As a result, the risks inherent in a military career in the Scottish marches were not actually all that great, and very few of the marcher gentry were either killed or ruined by ransom demands. This, along with the benefits of royal wages for military service, goes a long way towards explaining why the marchers remained committed to the Scottish wars, despite the devastation that was wrought within the border counties.
    Journal of Medieval History 09/2002; 28(3-28):263-290. DOI:10.1016/S0048-721X(02)00057-X
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