Under the Shadow of the Atomic Cloud: Masculinity, Anti-Communism, and Electoral Politics in Canada and the United States, 1949-1963
Core Focuses: “Cold War History, Electoral Politics, Canada-US Relations, Masculinity & Gender History, 20th Century History”
My dissertation centres on the early Cold War period, examining how perceived gender roles for men impacted what citizens in Canada and the United States were looking for in a leader. I study the relationship between masculinity and electoral politics during various presidential and prime ministerial elections between 1949 and 1963. My early chapters focus on Louis St. Laurent and Dwight Eisenhower, arguing that their paternalistic images offered fatherly reassurance that can be described as a national extension of “domestic containment.” I also provide analysis of candidates who lost, including George Drew and Adlai Stevenson, and how Cold War expectations of masculinity played into their rejection at the ballot box. My research then shifts to examine a more forceful leadership brand that emerged in John Diefenbaker and John F. Kennedy as Cold War fears intensified. Both men invoked concepts of national greatness and the creation of a “new frontier.” My dissertation culminates in the signing of the Partial Test Ban treaty in 1963. I draw a line in the mid-1960s as atomic fears recede and are replaced by concerns about the Vietnam War, civil rights, women’s rights, and early LGBTQ rights. These factors shifted the relationship between masculinity and leadership, as less influence was given to atomic culture, the Bomb, and anti-communist fears.
“Atomic Fatherhood: Eisenhower, St. Laurent, and the Politics of the Bomb,” Pathways to the Past, Graduate Student History Conference, University of Western Ontario, April 26-27 2019.
- Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, ON, July 2019
- Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library, Yorba Linda, CA, June 2019
- Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidental Library, Abilene, KS, December 2018
- Library Archives Canada, Ottawa, ON, March 2018 & October 2018
- Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, June 2018