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Lecture

History 2185 Lecture Notes - Rohm, Heterosexuality, Mind Control


Department
History
Course Code
HIS 2185
Professor
Monda Helpern

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Feb, 25, 2013
Sexuality and Nationalism
-Prior to the 60’s and the rise of social history (studies involving everyday people) nationalist history was “the”
history and for historians it served the purpose of highlighting the victories of nations and their development
-This worked theoretically to create a shared national identity and if there was a unified narrative of a nations
development it was something everyone could take pride in and it united countries
-The narrative consisted of stories about military, political, technological, and professional achievements mostly of
men and all of the efforts were in the name of progress and nationhood but this approach only emphasized the
public sphere and never considered how the private sphere was used for the same nationalist agenda
-The effort for a cohesive entity could be a positive thing and it was good to have pride but there were also sinister
and dangerous sides to nationalism but in all cases it necessarily involved the reproductive capacities of women
-Only in the last 2 years or so have historians studies nationalism and connected it to sexuality which was a new
approach to history and we realize they were really very tied together
-Historians realized a government’s campaign to build a stringer nation most often encouraged white middle class
women to reproduce and we have to ask how procreation facilitated nationalism
-One way it does it that it builds the population and this was necessary to have a strong workforce and military and
it helped build the “right” population which was seen as desirable (white, middle class, Christian, etc)
-Foreigners and immigrants were not part of the “correct” race among many other groups because they were seen
as having a dual loyalty to countries and this would upset nationalism
-From a humanitarian or feminist perspective this ideal of reproduction for nationalism had negative repercussions
and many problems including prioritizing and normalizing heterosexuality (marginalizes others), potentially using
eugenics negatively to gain “ideal” national identities, reinforcing traditional marriages at the exclusion of other
ways of life, it kept the women in the private sphere with a singular status as baby-makers, entrenching oppressive
gender roles that were traditional
-Women’s and men’s childbearing abilities could be exploited for the good of the state
Case Study of Quebec:
-During the 1920-30’s Quebec saw increased urbanization and industrialization and the issue was that these
processes were often spearheaded by Anglophone English Quebecers and as a result many French people felt that
traditional French culture, religion, and values were being lost
-English Quebecers were seen as taking over the spirit of Quebec as well as all the benefits of industrialization and
they wanted to oppose this take over and one way they did this was by promoting French culture and language
and thus French nationhood
-One of the ways they did this was through campaigns that encouraged French women to have large families and
this strategy of procreation promoted the idea of strength in numbers and it would populate Quebec with a more
French population to promote their French culture to overtake English influence
-This was helped along by the government funding the home economics movement which created of courses in
grade school to educate girls to appreciate the arts and sciences of running a household and raising children
-In Quebec this movement was very strong because it was not just about training girls to be mothers and wives but
it had an added agenda of adding a French nationalist cause by getting girls to think of themselves as future
mothers of many children
-This strategy was also aided because women were given “baby bonuses” to help pay for them to have children
and help raise them (more children equalled more money but it was only given for legitimate children)
-By the 60’s the French nationalism movement had become fanatical and the Quiet Revolution was a movement to
resist English takeover but they focuses less on preserving religion and they wanted a secular and distinct Quebec
-Nationalist men wanted to see Quebec as a new secular place were quite traditional in other ways because to
promote nationalism they needed to preserve traditional gender roles and heterosexuality and a strong Quebec
was linked to a strong virile masculinity and the English Quebec was talked about in very feminine ways
-The men were frustrated in the 60’s with the onset of the feminist movement and the sexual revolution which
wanted to destroy old gender roles and it gave them control over their reproduction (birth control important)
-Some Quebec women’s historians in the 80’s-90’s paralleled Quebec with women because they were struggling
for their distinct independence and identity
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