CCHU9071 Humanities
Man Up: Masculinities in the Making


Course Description

Today, men are facing what many consider a crisis. Male students are outnumbered by females at most universities in the developed world. More young men are being out-earned by their wives. Some men demand more rights in education and parenting, and argue that feminism has victimized men. Meanwhile, popular culture continues to define men as hyper-masculine, violent and homophobic. These phenomena raise the same questions: Where do men stand today? What is the future of men?

Man Up explores from various perspectives how men have confronted, deflected or negotiated the challenges facing them. We look at why, across different times and spaces, some masculine traits are celebrated and some are demonized. Why are single and affluent men, for example, named ‘the golden bachelors’? Why are men more likely to be depicted as criminals than women?

Man Up shows how the definition of masculinity today is a result of physiological, social and economic influences. It seeks to explore complex debates around such issues as male sexuality, family relations and nation-building. Through investigating different views of masculinity through history and other disciplines, students will reflect upon and challenge existing rhetorics, tropes and opinions.

Course Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

    1. Analyze the historical role of different stakeholders in sustaining and challenging men’s leading position in gender relations.
    2. Explain the political, social and cultural issues that shaped the masculinity ideals across time, space and culture.
    3. Examine how men conformed and resisted to the changing masculinity ideals at different historical points.
    4. Reflect upon and critically consider the value of men’s studies as a growing field in humanities.

Offer Semester and Day of Teaching

First semester (Wed)


Study Load

Activities Number of hours
Lectures 24
Tutorials 8
Reading / Self-study 38
Assessment: Essay / Report writing 30
Assessment: Presentation (incl preparation) 20
Total: 120

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
Continuous assessment and task focused activities 30
Photo essay 20
Course project 50

Required Reading

Selections from:

  • Bailey, B. L. (1988). From front porch to back seat: Courtship in twentieth-century America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Connell, R. W. (1995). Masculinities. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Filene, P. G. (1998). Him/her/self: Gender identities in modern America. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Jung, S. (2010). Korean masculinities and transcultural consumption: Yonsama, Rain, Oldboy, K-pop idols. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
  • Kam, L., & Low, M. (Eds.). (2003). Asian masculinities: The meaning and practice of manhood in China and Japan. London; New York: RoutledgeCurzon.
  • Kimmel, M. (3rd ed.). (2012). Manhood in America: A cultural history. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Newsom, J. S. (2015). The mask you live in. [Documentary]
  • Podnieks, E. (2016). Pops in pop culture: Fatherhood, masculinity, and the new man. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Roper, M., & Tosh, J. (Eds.). (1991). Manful assertions: Masculinity in Britain since 1800. London; New York: Routledge. [Introduction]
  • Rose, S. O. (2010). What is gender history?. Cambridge, UK; Malden, MA: Polity. [Chap. 3: Men and manhood]
  • Tosh, J. (2004). Hegemonic masculinity and gender history. In S. Dudink, K. Hagemann & J. Tosh (Eds.), Masculinities in politics and war: Gendering modern history, pp. 41–58. Manchester; New York: Manchester University Press.
  • Tosh, J. (2011). The history of masculinity: An outdated concept?. In J. H. Arnold & S. Brady (Eds.), What is Masculinity: Historical dynamics from antiquity to the contemporary world, pp. 17–34. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire; New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Wellard, I. (2009). Sport, masculinities and the body. New York, Routledge.
  • Wood, G. (2012). Retiring men: Manhood, labor, and growing old in America, 1900-1960. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

Recommended Reading

  • Armstrong, N. (2007). Father(ing) Christmas: Fatherhood, gender and modernity in Victorian and Edwardian England. In T. L. Broughton & H. Rogers (Eds.), Gender and fatherhood in the nineteenth century, pp. 96–110. Basingstoke; New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Chan, C. -L. (2005). How to become a straight man: A study of young Hong Kong heterosexual adult men. MPhil. thesis, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
  • Corbin, A., Courtine, J. J., & Vigarello, G. (2016). A history of virility. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Crouthamel, J. (2014). Love in the trenches: German soldiers’ conceptions of sexual deviance and hegemonic masculinity in the First World War. In C. Hämmerle, O. Überegger & B. Bader-Zaar (Eds.), Gender and the First Word War, pp. 52–71. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Dasgupta, R. (2013). Re-reading the salarymen in Japan: Crafting masculinities. Abingdon, Oxon; New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Hine, D. C., & Jenkins, E. (Eds.). (1999). A question of manhood: A reader in U.S. Black Men’s history and masculinity. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. [Introduction]
  • King, L. (2015). Family men: Fatherhood and masculinity in Britain, c.1914-1960. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Mangan, J. A., & Walvin, J. (Eds.). (1987). Manliness and morality: Middle-class masculinity in Britain and America, 1800-1940. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
  • McLaren, A. (1999). The trials of masculinity: Policing sexual boundaries, 1870-1930 (2nd ed.). United States: University of Chicago Press.
  • McLaren, A. (2007). Impotence: A cultural history. United States: University of Chicago Press.
  • Roberson, J. E., & Suzuki, S. (Eds.). (2003). Men and masculinities in contemporary Japan: Dislocating the salaryman doxa. London; New York: RoutledgeCurzon.
  • Rotundo, E. A. (1993). American manhood: Transformations in masculinity from the revolution to the modern era. New York: BasicBooks.
  • Smith, H. (2015). Love, sex, work and friendship: Northern, working-class men and sexuality in the first half of the twentieth century. In A. Harris & T. W. Jones (Eds.), Love and romance in Britain, 1918-1970, pp. 61–80. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire; New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Stearns, P. N. (1979). Be a man! Males in modern society. New York: Holmes & Meier.
  • Tomsen, S. (2008). Crime, criminal justice and masculinities. Aldershot, England; Burlington, VT: Ashgate.
  • Tosh, J. (1999). A man’s place: Masculinity and the middle-class home in Victorian England. New Haven, Conn.; London: Yale University Press.
  • Tosh, J. (2005). Manliness and masculinities in nineteenth-century Britain: Essays on gender, family, and empire. Harlow, England; New York: Pearson Longman.
  • Wong, H. -W., & Yau, H. -Y. (2016). The anthropology of Chinese masculinity in Taiwan and Hong Kong. In K. Louie (Ed.), Changing Chinese masculinities: From imperial pillars of state to global real men, pp. 220–244. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.

Recommended Websites


Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Dr C.L. Tsang
School of Humanities (History), Faculty of Arts
Tel: 3917 2864
Email: cctsang1@hku.hk
Teacher(s) Contact
Dr C.L. Tsang
School of Humanities (History), Faculty of Arts
Tel: 3917 2864
Email: cctsang1@hku.hk