The Covert and Hidden Memory of Gender

Authored by: G. Kurt Piehler

The Routledge History of Gender, War, and the U.S. Military

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138902985
eBook ISBN: 9781315697185
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315697185.ch21

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Abstract

Memory studies have much to offer scholars interested in interrogating questions of gender and war. As a field of inquiry, memory studies recognize that how societies remember the past is highly malleable in much the same way that gender roles are fluid and culturally determined. As the influential anthology edited by Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, Invention of Tradition, demonstrates, many customs and public rituals often have quite recent origins. 1 George Mosse’s Nationalization of the Masses examines how such diverse cultural products as public monuments, festivals, choral societies, and parades that were crucial to the rise of modern nationalism are heavily gendered male. In Fallen Soldiers: Reshaping the Memory of the World Wars, Mosse stresses how masculinity was central to the myth of the war experience that emerged during the First World War and proved central to German society’s efforts to make sense of the conflict’s massive killing. 2 Feminine characteristics remained something to be feared in the eyes of those promoting the cult centered on the masculinity. Even nurses who were admired for their courage were celebrated for performing what were deemed as traditional feminine roles. 3

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