Lecture 6: Patriarchy, Gender, and Sexuality

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11 Apr 2012
Lecture 6: Patriarchy, Gender, and Sexuality
Professor Brian Cowan
Date: September 16, 2011
- 1838, Charles Darwin; founding father of modern biology
- at that time, he was 29 years old, just completed his famous voyage after leaving
Cambridge, small, private income; he was about to get married
- he decided to draw a pro/con sheet to decide whether he should marry his cousin
- favourable: children, constant companion, a friend in old age, a playmate, home, clas-
sics and music and female chitchat
- being forced to visit relatives and relations (he crossed this off favourable)
- not favourable: no children, no second life, no one to care for someone in old age
- advantages to bachelorhood: freedom, choice of society, conversation of clever men at
clubs, not to bend at every trifle, not have to visit relatives
- if wife does not London, then banishment
- children cost money
- 19th Jan 1839: he married Emma Wedgewood; he settled in a remote village in Kent;
continued work until publishing Origin of Species later
- reproduction, companionship, and the potentially civilizing influence of a woman
- might cramp his style; might interfere with work and companionship between other
- contract: merged the financial matters of two families; it's about money or land; ensure
the succession of land from one generation to the next
- incest was illegal but attractive to families who want to keep stuff in the family; cousin
marriage a favoured practice among aristocracy
- also, moral and sexual commitment to support one another; love, the affective concern
- sense that marriage should be a loving relationship
- not everyone got married; very high celibacy rates in the early 18th c.
- serious, and you had to have the means to support a household; social expectations
- marriage was thought to be impossible if you could not support your spouse and chil-
- celibacy rates decline to less than 5%; growing popularity of marriage throughout the
18th c.
- social status; number of men feeling socially and financially ready to enter into a rela-
- rise in rural marriages; apprentices cannot get married, so urban rates are not as high
as countryside
- half of people over the age of 21 would remain unmarried in London; not necessarily
without sex, but marriage more difficult to achieve
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