Jennifer Evans: Postdoctoral Fellow (2012-13)

Jennifer Evans completed her doctorate at the University of Exeter. Her project is entitled 'Men’s Sexual Health and Masculinity in Early Modern England'.

Understandings of the body were a foundation for ideas about gender and sexuality in early modern England. Masculinity and manhood rested upon the male body exhibiting potency, strength, and rationality. This project will be the first in-depth investigation of how sexual and reproductive problems were accommodated in this complex framework. It will explore how early modern society understood diseases associated with the sexual and reproductive functioning of the male body, and will demonstrate how the discussions about these disorders reflected wider concerns about manhood, masculinity and patriarchy. The project will also investigate how men responded to episodes of sexual illness, disorder and debility, and ask whether these responses constituted a uniquely male experience of illness. In particular it will examine the relationships between male sufferers, their medical practitioners, families and contemporaries.

This research will go beyond existing studies that have focused on the print culture of health and gender to incorporate a study of print culture and patient practitioner interactions. This research will culminate in the publication of a monograph that challenges our understandings of male bodies at this time and tests the ways in which we conceptualise early modern masculinity.