James Earnshaw

MA (Hons.) St Andrews, M.Litt. St Andrews


Contact Details
Email: jte@st-andrews.ac.uk

Thesis Title: The German ‘Other’ and British Masculinity, 1870-1914
Supervisor: Joint supervision Dr Sarah Easterby-Smith and Professor Frank Lorenz Müller









I graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2017 with First Class honours in History. During my undergraduate degree I became interested in gender history, in particular masculinity, leading me to write my dissertation on a re-examination of The Battle of Dorking through gender. After graduating I continued my studies at St Andrews with an M.Litt. in Modern History, graduating with a Distinction in 2018. My Masters’ dissertation examined British Army Chaplains’ responses to regulated prostitution on the Western Front between 1914 and 1919. This challenged the existing scholarship by showing how chaplains’ critiques of regulated prostitution emphasised pragmatic criticisms of the policy’s efficiency over moralistic concerns.     

Research Interests

My main research interest is gender history in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, examining how contemporary discourses articulated subtle reconfigurations of gender norms. In particular, this has led to research on imperialism and racial ‘Others’; the history of sexuality; social Darwinism; Victorian and Edwardian militarism; and Anglo-German relations.  

Building upon these interests, my preliminary thesis title is ‘The German ‘Other’ and British Masculinity, 1871–1914’. The thesis aims to explore how the emergence of a German ‘Other’ in 1871 reconfigured British notions of masculinity up to the First World War and how this influenced foreign policy decisions. This will offer a new perspective on British foreign policy and imperialism, suggesting that the sudden expansion of empire, confrontational diplomacy, and cultural militarism stemmed from a reconceptualization of British gender norms. Central to this thesis is the idea that popular culture and broad social discourses were reflected in political discourse, and influenced foreign policy decisions. Alongside this, it will offer a new understanding of Anglo-German relations, suggesting that gendered anxieties over Britain’s perceived inferiority to Germany in 1871 defined British perceptions of Germany throughout the period. The salience of this reconfigured gender discourse will be examined through political debates, the popular press, contemporary literature, medical texts, and various everyday objects, such as toy soldiers, advertisements and food products.


2014 – Oglesby-Wellings Memorial Prize
2016 – Deans’ List
2017 – Alan Robertson Memorial Prize
2017 – Highly commended in the Undergraduate Awards
2017 – Deans’ List
2018 – Deans’ List