IMC 2018: Sessions

Session 1614: The Significance of the Middle Ages for the Construction of Masculinity in the 19th and Early 20th Century

Thursday 5 July 2018, 11.15-12.45

Sponsor:Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz / Oswald von Wolkenstein-Gesellschaft
Organiser:Käthe Sonnleitner, Institut für Geschichte, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz
Moderator/Chair:Sieglinde Hartmann, Oswald von Wolkenstein-Gesellschaft, Frankfurt am Main
Paper 1614-aWhat Is Wrong with Emperor Henry IV's Masculinity?
(Language: English)
Käthe Sonnleitner, Institut für Geschichte, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz
Index terms: Gender Studies, Historiography - Medieval
Paper 1614-bExamples to Be Followed!: The Crusading Leopold V as a Paragon of Military Virtue for the Habsburg Monarchy
(Language: English)
Ingrid Schlegl, Institut für Geschichte, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz
Index terms: Crusades, Gender Studies, Historiography - Medieval
Paper 1614-cThe Significance of Knightly Ideals for the Genesis of Austrian-Hungarian War Heroes during World War I
(Language: English)
Nicole Goll, Institut für Geschichte, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz
Index terms: Gender Studies, Military History
Abstract

This session examines how idealized medieval perceptions of masculinity were exploited for the construction of political concepts of power in the 19th and early 20th century. The masculinity of Henry IV, who was not regarded as an ideal man and king by many of his contemporaries, had to be modified fundamentally in the 19th century in order to transform him into a worthy king of early German history. The knightly Christian masculinity of the crusading Babenbergs and dukes of Austria, on the other hand, provided a shining example for the House of Habsburg whose members regarded themselves as defenders of Christianity. During World War I stereotyped concepts of knighthood were used to create heroic flying aces who were distinguished from the men in the trenches through their ‘clean’ fighting methods. As a consequence, war propaganda was able to downgrade the harsh reality of war.