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Men's studies - also sometimes called masculinity studies - is an interdisciplinary academic field devoted to topics concerning men, gender, and politics. As a relatively new field of study, men's studies was formed largely in response to, and as a critique of, an emerging men's rights movement - itself a response to both the real and perceived advantages brought to women by feminism political action - and has only been taught in academic settings since the 1970s. In many universities, men's studies is a correlate to or part of a larger women's studies or gender studies program, and as such its faculty tends to be sympathetic to or engaged in feminist politics.

Men's studies programs and courses often include contemporary discussions of men's rights, feminist theory, queer theory, patriarchy, and, more generally, the social, historical, and cultural constructions of men and masculinity. They often discuss the issues surrounding the changing forms of male privilege, as well as the anxiety that men in developed countries face as a result of their loss of privilege and clear gender roles in light of the feminist movement. Importantly, scholars engaged in the field of Men's Studies tend not to agree that this anxiety is justified, and analyze the socio-historical institutions and attitudes that have led men to assume that their power and authority should be necessarily greater than, or at least necessarily different from, that of women.

The American Men Studies Association traces the roots of an organized field of men's studies to the early 1980s and the work of scholars involved in an anti-sexist organization called the Men's Studies Task Group (MSTG) of the National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS) [1], which included Martin Acker, Shepherd Bliss, Harry Brod, Sam Femiano, Martin Fiebert, and Michael Messner. However, men's studies classes also pre-date AMSA, and a small number were taught in various colleges across the United States throughout the 1970s.

Due to its relative newness and the debate over the purpose or mission of men's studies, the boundaries and subjects of men's studies are always under debate and constantly changing. This is also due to the fact that many male and female scholars of men's studies have varied and often disagreeing politics, including feminism, pro-feminism, the men's movement, men's rights advocacy, the mythopoetic men's movement, and masculism. Ironically, a minority of men's studies scholars also figure the loss of male privilege as a form of male oppression, pointing to women's superiority in reproductive freedom and choice, as well as archaic attitudes towards child custody and domestic violence laws that criminalize men without a jury trial. Despite this, the majority still identify as feminist or profeminist, and hold that whatever gains have been made by women are still dwarfed by the inequalities they face in the home, under law, and on the job market. As well, some feminists contend that men's studies is unnecessary, as related disciplines such as sociology, history, psychology, political science, and literature are already dominated by the theories and texts of men.



  • Adams, Rachel, and David Savran. (eds). (2002). The Masculinity Studies Reader. Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers.
  • Berger, Maurice, Brian Wallis, and Simon Watson. (eds). (1995). Constructing Masculinity. New York and London: Routledge.
  • Bordo, Susan. (1999). The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and Private. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
  • Brod, Harry, and Michael Kaufman. (eds). (1994). Theorizing Masculinities. London: Sage.
  • Buchbinder, David. (1994). Masculinities and Identities. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.
  • Buchbinder, David. (1998). Performance Anxieties: Re-producing Masculinity. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.
  • Carver, Terrell (2004) Men in Political Theory. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
  • Clatterbaugh, Kenneth. (1997). Contemporary Perspectives on Masculinity: Men, Women, and Politics in Modern Society. 2nd edition, Colorado & Oxford: Westview Press.
  • Connell, R.W. (1987). Gender and Power: Society, the Person and Sexual Politics. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.
  • Connell, R.W. (1995). Masculinities. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.
  • Connell, R.W. (2000). The Men and the Boys. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.
  • Digby, Tom. (ed.). (1998). Men Doing Feminism. New York & London: Routledge.
  • Edley, Nigel, and Margaret Wetherell. (1995). Men in Perspective: Practice, Power and Identity. London: Prentice-Hall.
  • Edwards, Tim. (1993). Erotics and Politics: Gay Male Sexuality, Masculinity, and Feminism. New York: Routledge.
  • Gardiner, Judith Kegan. (ed.). (2002). Masculinity Studies and Feminist Theory: New Directions. Columbia University Press.
  • Haddad, Tony. (ed.). (1993). Men and Masculinities: A Critical Anthology. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press.
  • Hearn, Jeff, and David H.J. Morgan (eds). (1990). Men, Masculinities and Social Theory. London: Unwin Hyman.
  • Haywood, Chris, and Mairtin Mac an Ghaill (2003) Men and Masculinities: Theory, Research and Social Practice. Open University Press.
  • Katz, Jackson (2006) The Macho Paradox: Why some men hurt women and how all men can help. Sourcebooks.
  • Kimmel, Michael S., Jeff Hearn and R. W. Connell (eds.) (2005) Handbook of Studies on Men and Masculinities. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
  • Kimmel, Michael S. (ed.). (1995). The Politics of Manhood: Profeminist Men Respond to the Mythopoetic Men’s Movement (and the Mythopoetic Leaders Answer). Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
  • Kimmel, Michael S. (2000). The Gendered Society. New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Kimmel, Michael, and Amy Aronson (eds) (2003) Men and Masculinities: A social, cultural, and historical encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio Press.
  • Kimmel, Michael S., and Michael Messner. (eds). (1998). Men’s Lives. New York/Toronto: Macmillan/Maxwell (4th edition).
  • Kupers, Terry A. (1993). Revisioning Men’s Lives: Gender, Intimacy, and Power. New York & London: Guilford Press.
  • Mac an Ghaill, Mairtin. (ed.). (1996). Understanding Masculinities: Social Relations and Cultural Arenas. Buckingham & Philadelphia: Open University Press.
  • May, Larry. (1998). Masculinity and Morality. Ithaca & London: Cornell University Press.
  • May, Larry, and Robert Strikwerda. (eds). (1992). Rethinking Masculinity: Philosophical Explorations in Light of Feminism. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Messner, Michael A. (1997). Politics of Masculinities: Men in Movements. University of Southern California: Sage.
  • Miedzian, Myriam. (1991). Boys Will Be Boys: Breaking the Link Between Masculinity and Violence. New York: Doubleday.
  • Pease, Bob. (1997). Men and Sexual Politics: Towards a Profeminist Practice. Adelaide: Dulwich Centre Publications.
  • Pease, Bob. (2000). Recreating Men: Postmodern Masculinity Politics. London: Sage.
  • Pease, Bob. (2002). Men and Gender Relations. Melbourne: Tertiary Press.
  • Petersen, Alan. (1998). Unmasking the Masculine: ‘Men’ and ‘Identity’ in a Sceptical Age. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Pfeil, Fred. (1995). White Guys: Studies in Postmodern Domination and Difference. London & New York: Verso.
  • Pringle, Keith. (1995). Men, Masculinities and Social Welfare. London: UCL Press.
  • Schacht, Steven P., and Doris W. Ewing (2004) Feminism With Men: Bridging the gender gap. Roman and Littlefield.
  • Segal, Lynne. (1990). Slow Motion: Changing Masculinities, Changing Men. London: Virago.
  • Seidler, Victor J. (2005) Transforming Masculinities : Men, Cultures, Bodies, Power, Sex and Love. Routledge.
  • Simpson, Mark. (1994). Male Impersonators: Men Performing Masculinity. New York: Routledge.
  • Snodgrass, Jon. (ed.). (1977). A Book of Readings: For Men Against Sexism. Albion CA: Times Change Press.
  • Stoltenberg, John. (1990). Refusing To Be a Man: Essays on Sex and Justice. CA & Suffolk: Fontana/Collins.
  • Stoltenberg, John. (1993). The End of Manhood: A Book for Men of Conscience. New York: Dutton. (Also available from Baker & Taylor Replica Books, 1998)
  • Whitehead, Stephen M. (2002). Men and Masculinities: Key Themes and New Directions. Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Whitehead, Stephen M., and Frank J. Barrett. (eds). (2001). The Masculinities Reader. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Academic Journals

  • General
    • Journal of Men’s Studies (1992-)
    • Men and Masculinities (formerly Masculinities, and before that Men’s Studies Review) (Sage)
    • Psychology of Men & Masculinity (2000-)
  • On particular areas
    • Fathering: A Journal of Theory and Research about Men as Parents
    • International Journal of Men’s Health (2002-)
    • Journal of Men, Masculinities and Spirituality (January 2007-)
    • Journal of Men’s Health and Gender
    • Thymos: Journal of Boyhood Studies (2007-)

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit

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