Episode #68 Disability, Masculinity, and War with Sarah Handley-Cousins

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I am very pleased to welcome Dr. Sarah Handley-Cousins to the show!!! Sarah is the associate director of the Center for Disability Studies and clinical assistant professor of history at the University at Buffalo. AND she is the author of Bodies in Blue: Disability in the Civil War North, published by the University of Georgia Press in 2019. In addition to teaching and scholarship, Sarah is also active in the world of digital public history as an editor for Nursing Clio and producer of Dig: A History Podcast. That’s a lot!!! Seriously, I am envious of the obvious work ethic :)

Anyway…we get right down to discussing the finer points of 19th-century masculinity during and following the Civil War and how soldiers’ damaged minds and bodies compromised Victorian standards of masculinity. I really enjoyed the discussion…here’s are some of the highlights:

  • Victorian masculinity

  • How disabled soldiers faced difficult negotiations in their attempts to “please observers”

  • Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain’s horrific wound - sustained at Petersburg in 1864

  • Wounded soldiers and popular culture - the obligatory amputation scene

  • Psychological wounds - what we would call PTSD

  • (A shift of gears…so to speak) Podcasting and reaching a broader audience - the intersection of academia and popular history

  • Engaging issues of masculinity in ways relevant to today’s political discourse…as a meaningful experience (shouting is for suckers).

  • The responsibility of historians on social media

A number of books covering these subject came up during our discussion including Diane Miller Sommerville’s Aberration of Mind: Suicide and Suffering in the Civil War Era South (gots to get her on the show…), David Silkenat’s Moments of Despair, and….Stephen Berry’s All that Makes a Man.. I would for sure add these to you library, along with Sarah’s of course :)

And make sure to follow Sarah’s work on Dig History, Nursing Clio, her WEBSITE, and Twitter (of course) - you’ll be glad you did!

And please, be sure and subscribe to The Rogue Historian Podcast on Apple Podcasts or your favorite app so you never ever ever ever miss a show. That would be dumb.

With compliments,

Keith