Five Questions: Julia Banister on Masculinity, Militarism and Eighteenth-Century Culture

By Matthew Sangster

Julia Banister is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature at Leeds Beckett University. She is an interdisciplinary literary scholar with particular interests in bringing literary texts together with other forms of writing and in exploring the relationship between texts and historical contexts. Her research specialisms include gender and the body; war and military service; disability studies; and travel writing. She has published on authors including William Falconer, Laurence Sterne and Jane Austen. Her monograph Masculinity, Militarism and Eighteenth-Century Culture, 1689–1815, which we discuss below, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2018.

1) How did you first become interested in military masculinities?

My interest began with the study of masculinity, which I can trace to studying women’s writing when I was an undergraduate. When I started my doctoral research, I turned to the study of masculinity, which was then a comparatively new field. It might seem odd now, but early scholars of masculinity (many of whom were sociologists) worried about turning the critical spotlight to men, or rather, turning it back to men: what might that mean for gender studies more broadly? Would the new focus on men undermine efforts by feminist scholars to …read more