The life that God desires men live: visions of masculinity in post-revolutionary global Ireland, 1923-1968


   Centre for Culture and Creativity

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  Dr Tim Ellis-Dale  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Following the Irish Revolution, the heteronormative masculine ideal was valorised; an ideal which compromised both the pious Catholic and the virile warrior-hero, while women’s and LGBTQ rights stagnated. Despite this, masculinities remain a relatively nascent subject in Irish studies. In this field, the scholarship has focussed heavily on masculinities and their representation during periods of extreme violence, namely the Irish Revolution (c. 1912-23) and the Northern Irish Troubles (c. 1968-98), with considerably less attention paid to the intervening period. This project asks the question of just how exactly masculinity was envisioned in post-revolutionary global Ireland. During this period, ‘Ireland’ constituted a truly global community, with the Irish diaspora outnumbering the population of the island of Ireland.

As masculinity constitutes a social and cultural construct, which also intersects with sexuality, race, class, age and disability, and is present in across a multitude of areas of human experience, this project is inherently interdisciplinary. Prospective researchers will be encouraged to draw upon the wide-ranging expertise of the supervisory team, which combines perspectives from history, literary studies, and visual culture. They will analyse a range of sources, which may include fiction, drama, life writing, oral testimony, visual culture, and archival documents. Equal recognition will be given to both the visual and the textual. Indeed, visual culture has proved vital for the construction of masculinity, and gender identities more broadly. As Anthea Callen (1998: 401) argues, it is ‘in pictorial images we recognize likeness or difference; we identify ourselves or find a different ‘other.’

You will be positively encouraged to adapt their focus to address your own research interests. You may choose to focus on all or part of the period, 1922-68, and to focus on the construction of masculinity in either political, economic, social, cultural, and/or religious life. You should also think about masculinities in the plural, and may explore the construction of hegemonic masculinity, the lived experience of masculinity, deviant, and queer masculinities, or the interaction between them. Moreover, the ‘global’ dimension of this project may be interpreted in transnational, comparative and/or diasporic terms.

Specific interpretations of the research question could entail the following:

  • What was the relationship between masculinities and power in Ireland in this period?
  • How did the construction of masculinity change in Ireland over this period?
  • What was unique about hegemonic masculinity in Ireland during this period?

Teesside itself offers an ideal location for research into global Ireland, as the local area contains a particularly high number of members of the Irish diaspora. Prospective researchers will benefit from institutional links between the university, Middlesbrough Institute for Modern Art, Teesside Irish Society and the Tyneside Irish Centre. They will also benefit from the Director of Studies’ research connections to other institutions in Great Britain, Ireland, and around the world. This will help you to make a meaningful contribution to knowledge, at a time when the concept of masculinity is increasingly being contested around the world.

The supervisor is  Dr Tim Ellis-Dale from the Centre for Culture and Creativity.

Entry requirements

You should hold or expect to obtain a good honours degree (2:1 or above) in a relevant discipline. A master’s level qualification in a relevant discipline is desirable, but not essential, as well as a demonstrable understanding of the research area. International students will be subject to the standard entry criteria relating to English language ability, ATAS clearance and, when relevant, UK visa requirements and procedures.

Applications are welcome from UK, EU and International students.

How to apply

Application is online.

Key dates

  • Application closing date: 5.00pm,5 February 2024.
  • Shortlisting and interviews: March 2024.
  • Start date: October 2024.
Creative Arts & Design (9) History & Archaeology (19) Languages, Literature & Culture (21) Politics & Government (30) Sociology (32)

Funding Notes

The fully-funded PhD studentship covers tuition fees for the period of a full-time PhD Registration of up to four years and provides an annual tax-free stipend of £18,622 for three years, subject to satisfactory progress.