Northampton Electronic Collection of Theses and Research

Boots, material culture and Georgian masculinities

McCormack, M. (2017) Boots, material culture and Georgian masculinities. Paper presented to: Objects and Possessions: Changing Goods in a Material World, 1200-1800, University of Southampton, 03-06 April 2017.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Abstract: Writings on footwear tend to emphasise a fundamental division between those made for men and women: men’s are plain, sturdy and functional, whereas women’s are decorative, flimsy and impractical. Of all male footwear, boots are typically the plainest, sturdiest and most functional of all. They are often substantial in construction, offering support to the foot and lower leg, and protecting them against the elements or foreign objects, enabling the wearer to carry out practical tasks. In the eighteenth century they were emphatically outdoor wear, and scholars have noted their rustic and unrefined image. This paper will re-evaluate the male boot of the long eighteenth century, emphasising its complex symbolic associations and its significance for the gendered lives of men. Boots were associated with equestrianism, social status and the military, and therefore were key markers of gender, class and national identity. Furthermore, this paper will think about boots as material objects, and what this tells us about their use and the impact that they had upon the bodies of their wearers. Based on research in three key shoe archives, this paper uses boots to think about Georgian notions of masculinity, the body and the self.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Boots, shoes, masculinity, eighteenth century, Britain
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain > DA505 George III, 1760-1820
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GT Manners and customs > GT500 Costume. Dress. Fashion > GT2130 Shoes
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women > HQ1088 Men
Creators: McCormack, Matthew
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Faculty of Education & Humanities > History
Faculties > Faculty of Education & Humanities > History
Date: 5 April 2017
Date Type: Publication
Event Title: Objects and Possessions: Changing Goods in a Material World, 1200-1800
Event Dates: 03-06 April 2017
Event Location: University of Southampton
Event Type: Conference
Language: English
Status: Published / Disseminated
Related URLs:

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item