Date of Degree

2-2022

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

French

Advisor

Maxime Blanchard

Committee Members

Rachel Corkle

Brian Joseph Martin

Subject Categories

Cultural History | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | French and Francophone Literature | History of Gender | Visual Studies

Keywords

Gender history, Narrativization of gender-based violence, Romantic love, Sexual consent, the First World War, France.

Abstract

Armored Feelings examines how the First World War reconfigured how the French thought and wrote about romantic love, sexual consent, and gender-based violence. It posits this devastating event as a critical juncture during which the misogynistic and racist notion of amour à la Française took its modern shape as a rhetoric buttressing the nation’s brittle sense of cultural superiority while obscuring diverse forms of gendered aggression – especially those perpetrated by its citizens against women. This dissertation also establishes that the notion of women’s sexual consent coalesced during the period under examination as a troubled and troubling response to the violent and racializing context of total war. By analyzing literary works, visual artefacts, and popular culture as records of shifting attitudes towards diverse forms of gendered aggression, it uncovers how society and its militarization shaped the narrativisation of gender-based violence in that period. This dissertation ultimately offers an original framework to historicize the affective intricacies and shifting cultural norms underpinning intertwined representations of desire, seduction, sexual consent, as well as aggressiveness, victimhood, and diverse forms of inter-personal violence.

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