BRING ME MEN: Military Masculinity and the Benign Facade of American Empire, 1898-2001 - By Aaron Belkin

Jul 10, 2012, 10:02 ET from Palm Center

This gripping account of the strength and weakness, sadism and masochism, masculinity and femininity, boundedness and porosity, cleanliness and filth that together make up military masculinity…will shock."  Janet Halley, Royall Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

"Aaron Belkin's fascinating, original, and authoritative book overturns conventional wisdom about military masculinity and raises important and troubling questions about warrior identity….A must-read book for anyone interested in gender and war." Joshua Goldstein, author of award-winning War and Gender

"Aaron Belkin is one of the most knowledgeable, subtle and deeply informed scholars exploring the cross-national complexities of masculine militarized practice. Bring Me Men will quickly become the book to read, learn from and discuss." — Cynthia Enloe, author of Nimo's War, Emma's War: Making Feminist Sense of the Iraq War

LOS ANGELES, July 10, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new book argues that American military power conceals a culture of sexual violence among U.S. troops, and that throughout modern American history, the bleak underside of military culture has been sanitized by excluded outcasts – African Americans, women, and most recently gays and lesbians – who have attested to the nobility of the armed forces in exchange for the right to serve in uniform. The book, titled BRING ME MEN, was released today by Columbia University Press in the U.S. and Hurst Publishers in Britain.

In BRING ME MEN, author Aaron Belkin explores contradictions associated with both warrior masculinity as well as American empire, such as the twin expectation that both the troops and the empire must be dirty and clean, civilized and barbaric, penetrable and impenetrable. To build his case, he analyses a scandal involving male-male rape that has never been reported in public, and argues that American troops must have solid, impenetrable bodies, but that they also must sometimes endure rape as part of their initiation into warrior culture.

Belkin argues in a case study on filth and purity among U.S. service members in the Philippines during and after the Spanish-American war that both the troops and the imperial project more broadly were expected to be dirty and clean at the same time, and that Filipino stewards concealed this dynamic in a literal sense when they swept floors and washed latrines, jobs which they often performed.

In a concluding chapter on warrior masculinity and the politics of paranoia, Belkin argues that social conservatives have used the warrior ideal to justify scapegoating both at home and abroad. Based on seven years of research, BRING ME MEN includes a wide range of data that Belkin obtained from military archives, surveys, in-depth interviews, Freedom of Information Act requests, and literary analysis. 

About the Author
Aaron Belkin is Professor of Political Science at San Francisco State University and founder and director of The Palm Center. Prior to his arrival at State, he was a MacArthur Foundation postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley and a pre-doctoral fellow at Stanford. A regular contributor to Huffington Post, Dr. Belkin has been one of the nation's leading advocates on the gays-in-the-military issue for more than a decade, and he designed and implemented much of the public education plan that undermined the military's and Congress's rational for "don't ask, don't tell." He has delivered more than 30 lectures on "don't ask, don't tell" at military universities including West Point, the Army War College, the Air Force Academy, the Naval War College and others. For more information, visit and follow Dr. Belkin on twitter @aaronbelkin and Facebook
BRING ME MEN: Military Masculinity and the Benign Facade of American Empire, 1898-2001

By Aaron Belkin
Columbia University Press, July 10, 2012
twitter: @aaronbelkin



SOURCE Palm Center