Berliner Festspiele launches the exhibition "Masculinities"

Berliner Festspiele has just launched an interesting exhibition titled Masculinities: Liberation through Photography, which explores the diverse ways masculinity has been experienced, performed, coded and socially constructed in photography and film from the 1960s to the present day. You can access the exhibition guide and all the information here.

Simone de Beauvoir’s famous declaration that “one is not born a woman, but rather becomes one” provides a helpful springboard for considering what it means to be a male in today’s world, as well as the place of photography and film in shaping masculinity. What we have thought of as “masculine” has changed considerably throughout history and within different cultures. The traditional social dominance of the male has determined a gender hierarchy, which continues to underpin societies around the world.

In Europe and North America, the characteristics and power dynamics of the dominant masculine figure – historically defined by physical size and strength, assertiveness and aggression – though still pervasive today, began to be challenged and transformed in the 1960s. Amid a climate of sexual revolution, struggle for civil rights and raised class consciousness, the growth of the gay rights movement, the period’s counterculture and opposition to the Vietnam War, large sections of society argued for a loosening of the straitjacket of narrow gender definitions.

Set against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement, when manhood is under increasing scrutiny and terms such as “toxic” and “fragile” masculinity fill endless column inches, an investigation of this expansive subject is particularly timely, especially given current global politics characterised by male world leaders shaping their image as “strong” men.

Touching on queer identity, race, power and patriarchy, men as seen by women, stereotypes of dominant masculinity as well as the family, the exhibition presents masculinity in all its myriad forms, rife with contradictions and complexities. Embracing the idea of multiple “masculinities” and rejecting the notion of a singular “ideal man”, the exhibition argues for an understanding of masculinity liberated from societal expectations and gender norms.

Video: MASCAGE project presentation

You can watch José María Armengol Carrera, principal investigator, presenting the project here. In the video, José María introduces us to Gender Net Plus' "MASCAGE" project dedicated to the analysis of social constructions of ageing masculinities as well as to their cultural representations in contemporary European literatures and cinemas. The interview was conducted (05/06/20) through Zoom by Nawal Aït Ali (CNRS), project manager of Gender-Net Plus. You can explore the Gender-Net Plus' community of projects through


Call for Abstract Sumbissions: JAS Special issue - “Ageing Masculinities: Social and Cultural Representations”

JAS Special issue - “Ageing Masculinities: Social and Cultural Representations”

Call for Abstract Submissions

Guest EditorsJose M. Armengol, Roberta Maierhofer, Marge Unt & Liat Ayalon

Traditionally, Gender Studies has focused on women. Politically, this is logical. It is women who have experienced the worst effects of gender discrimination, and so it is women who were the first to make gender visible as a political category. Since the late 1980s, however, Gender Studies has increasingly focused on the lives of men recognizing the interconnectedness of the categories and the importance of active male participation in the struggle for gender equality in order for us all to live better, happier lives. Over the last twenty years, Gender Studies have increasingly expanded to incorporate critical studies on masculinities, which Michael Kimmel defines as the study of “men as men,” that is, “men as gendered beings” (2000). This has contributed to understanding masculinity – namely, the “signs, attributes, behaviours, roles, and/or practices that are associated with being a man/social male” (Hearn 2006) – as a specific gendered category revealing it as a social construction across different times and cultures (Gilmore 1990). In turn, this has promoted a thriving interdisciplinary field of masculinity research, which has given way to a fast-growing number of publications in the Social Sciences and the Humanities, including among others sociological, psychological, historical, anthropological, and cultural studies of masculinity.

Much less attention had been paid, however, to the specific intersection of gender and age, especially older men and masculinities (Thompson 2004). As principal investigators of a recently funded EU-research project on masculinities (, we are specifically interested in bringing together research conducted by scholars from different disciplines (including both the Social Sciences and Humanities) and nationalities in the fields of aging and gender studies. This special issue thus aims to be fundamentally interdisciplinary, focusing on both social science and primary data collection as well as critical studies of ageing masculinities as represented in literature and cinema. We specifically encourage collaborations between researchers from different disciplines and nationalities in order to explore the interactions between social constructions and cultural representation of ageing masculinities. The special issue will reflect our current collaborative efforts to better conceptualize and bring together the research in the field, especially the relevance of cultural representations to social constructions of aging masculinities, and the other way round.

Relevant abstracts (250 words) should be submitted by January 7th 2021 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for consideration by the Guest Editors. Authors of accepted abstracts will be invited to submit a full-length paper, with final manuscripts to be submitted by May 1st 2021.

5th ICMEO Conference 2020 Video

You can watch a video of the workshop at the 5th ICMEO Conference held on 3-4 September 2020, which includes José María Armengol's intervention about MascAge and cultural representations of aging masculinities, here. Dr. Armengol's intervention starts about the 24-minute mark.

Online Workshop: "Men & Masculinities under Socialism. A Social and Cultural History"

This online workshop aims to consider critical men’s studies and the history of masculinities, and to make these approaches fruitful for Eastern European gender studies and the gender history of socialism. Its objective is to stimulate new paths for writing the histories of masculinities under socialism, focusing especially on examining the meanings of masculinities in everyday life.
Men & Masculinities under Socialism. A Social and Cultural History
The workshop opens with a general discussion of the history of masculinities, including two keynote speeches of Jürgen Martschukat (The Politics of Masculinity and Whiteness in Recent American History) and Erica L. Fraser (Military Masculinity and Postwar Recovery in the Soviet Union), and a film screening and discussion (introduced by György Kalmár). The second part of the workshop presents different case studies on the history of masculinities under socialism and will be organized around the discussion of pre-circulated article drafts.
Advance registration is required. To learn more and register, please e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Academic Committee: Erica L. Fraser (Carleton University), Fabio Giomi (CNRS, Paris), Pavel Kolář (University of Konstanz), Maike Lehmann (University of Cologne), Thomas Lindenberger (TU Dresden), Marianna Muravyeva (Aspasia / University of Helsinki), Julia Richers (University of Bern), Régis Schlagdenhauffen (EHESS, Paris), Brigitte Studer (University of Bern)

Thursday, 8 October 2020, 9:15 am – 4:30 pm (all times are Central European Time)

9:15 – 9:30 am Welcome & Introduction

9:30 – 10:45 am The History of Masculinities 1
Jürgen Martschukat (University of Erfurt): The Politics of Masculinity and Whiteness in Recent American History
Comment: Claudia Opitz-Belakhal (University of Basel)

11:15 am – 12:30 pm The History of Masculinities 2
Erica L. Fraser (Carleton University): Military Masculinity and Postwar Recovery in the Soviet Union
Comment: Carmen Scheide (University of Bern)

2:00 – 2:30 pm Film discussion
The Prefab People (Panelkapcsolat), Béla Tarr (Hungary, 1982). Introduced by György Kalmár (University of Debrecen)

3:00 – 4:30 pm Family and Medicine
Chair: Brigitte Studer (University of Bern)

Natalia Jarska (Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw): Women’s Work and Men. From Breadwinning to Consumption and Emancipation

Amanda Williams (University of Leeds): « The Influence of the Husband »: Men’s Roles in Reproductive Politics in Soviet Russia, 1936–1968

Friday, 9 October 2020, 9:30 am – 4:30 pm

9:30 – 11:00 am Military Masculinities
Chair: Régis Schlagdenhauffen (EHESS, Paris)

Magali Delaloye (University of Basel): Heal and Serve. Performing Soviet Military Masculinity during the Afghan War (1979–1989)

Wojciech Śmieja (University of Silesia, Katowice): Memoirs of Disabled Veterans. Communist Poland and the (Re-)Construction of Crippled Bodies

11:30 am – 12:30 pm Youth, Love, and Sexuality
Chair: Alexandra Oberländer (Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin)

Brendan M. McElmeel (University of Washington, Seattle): Don Juan and Comrade Ivan: Love and Masculinity in the Soviet Urals, 1953–1964

2:00 – 3:30 pm Coloniality and Violence
Chair: Julia Richers (University of Bern)
Cristina Diac (University of Bucharest): Behind the Close Doors. The Private Life of the Petty-Activists of the Romanian Communist Party, 1945–1960

Marina Yusupova (Newcastle University): Coloniality of Gender and Masculinity: Rethinking Contemporary Russian Masculinities in Light of Post- and Decolonial Critique

4:00 – 4:30 pm Final discussion
Concluding remarks by Ivan Simić (Charles University, Prague)



Peter Hallama, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Webinar "Imagine Ageing: Irish Culture and Society to be held on Friday 18th September

The MASCAGE Irish Team will hold the webinar "Imagine Ageing: Irish Culture and Society" on Friday, 18th September, 2-3.30 pm. 

This event is part of the pan-European project Gendering Age: Representations of Masculinities and Ageing in Contemporary European Literatures and Cinemas (2019-2022). It brings together six speakers from a variety of backgrounds to consider issues and themes in the representation of ageing masculinities in an Irish context. It marks the first in a planned series of webinars and events at NUI Galway/Moore Institute that will explore cultural constructions of ageing in film and literature.

Further details and registration available on Eventbrite:

We will be delighted to see you there.

5th International Conference on Men and Equal Opportunities: Men who care

The 5th International Conference on Men and Equal Opportunities: Men who care will take place in Tallinn (Estonia) on 3-4 September 2020. The conference will consist of four plenary sessions and five workshops, and the organisers have created possibilities for panels and workshops to work both online and on-site, using the platform Hybridity.

While the importance of men’s and boys’ active participation and responsibility as actors of change for gender equality and their role as co-beneficiaries of gender equality policies is widely acknowledged in principle, this general awareness is not very often backed up by long-term commitment and initiatives. At the conference we will seek to provide a space for continuing and furthering discussions and learning from each other’s experience on topics ranging from caring to toxic masculinities. In this framework, we are addressing issues such as men’s responsibility to care for oneself, care for others and care for well-being and sustainability of societies, including for promoting gender equality. Both challenges and good and promising practices covering these topics will be discussed in a panel and workshop format, involving a wide range of stakeholders, among them decision-makers, policy-makers, researchers and activists.

The Tallinn conference is a follow-up from the previous conferences held in Germany (2012), Austria (2014), Luxembourg (2016) and Sweden (2018). The general aim of this series of conferences is to address both the issues of involving more men in promoting gender equality and of gender-specific challenges men face, including due to restrictive gender norms.

On the 3rd of September, Josep María Armengol will be talking about the MascAge project in one of the sessions about inspiring actions in the field of men, masculinities and aging. Please find attached the full program for the conference.