Be a Man: The Exploration of Expressions and Practices of British Masculinity, A Comparison of Transjordan and Mesopotamia
Tracing the history of masculinity is a crucial exercise in understanding complex structures of postcolonial relations. This thesis attempts to examine the informal influence of masculinity (defined as possessing qualities or characteristics considered typical of or appropriate to a man) as it was expressed by the British colonizers toward the Arab colonized, comparing the masculine practices employed in Transjordan and Mesopotamia from the time period of World War I until World War II, or in other words, from roughly 1914 until 1939. Using R.W. Connell's theoretical basis of hegemonic masculinity, I describe how British masculinity was expressed in the Arab colonies. As British masculinity was disseminated throughout the colonies, it became a key feature of the colonial gender order. To achieve this goal, I analyze the colonial memoirs of four British colonial administrators: Sir Alec Seath Kirkbride, John Bagot Glubb, Arnold Talbot Wilson, and Gertrude Bell. Kirkbride and Glubb are on the Transjordan side of the discussion, while Wilson and Bell are on the side of Mesopotamia. In all of their writings, these individuals discuss (consciously and unconsciously) a particular kind of masculinity that is specific to their Western point of reference, and apply it to their expectations of the local Arab populations.
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