01The well-groomed Georgian20190617

New Generation Thinker Alun Withey on what made 18th-century men shave off centuries of manly growth. Recorded before an audience at the York Festival of Ideas.
You can hear audience questions from the event as an episode of the BBC Arts&Ideas podcast.

To be clean-shaven was the mark of a C18 gentleman, beard-wearing marked out the rough rustic. For the first time, men were beginning to shave themselves instead of visiting the barber, and a whole new market emerged to cater for rising demand in all sorts of shaving products - soaps, pastes and powders. But the way these were promoted suggests there was confusion over exactly what the ideal man should be. On the one hand, razor makers appealed to masculine characteristics like hardness, control and temper in their advertisements whilst perfumers and other manufacturers of shaving soaps, stressed softness, ease and luxury.
So enter the world of Georgian personal grooming to discover the 18th century's inner man.

Alun Withey lectures in the Centre for Medical History at the University of Exeter and is a Wellcome Research Fellow and a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker. He has edited an essay collection on the history of facial hair (Palgrave), curated a photographic exhibition of Victorian beards in the Florence Nightingale Museum in London and has written for BBC History Magazine and History Today. He blogs at dralun.wordpress.com

Alun Withey on C16 medical history https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p022kyp1
Alun Withey visits Bamburgh Castle https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p036l4q0
Alun Withey's article about the C19th attitude towards beards https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/31SKHd61RYxJBryrQ4NfmWJ/nine-reasons-victorians-thought-men-were-better-with-beards

Producer: Jacqueline Smith.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.

02Sword To Pen: Redcoat And The Rise Of The Military Memoir20190618

New Generation Thinker Emma Butcher on the publishing phenomenon that was the traumatised Napoleonic Redcoat - Recorded before an audience at the York Festival of Ideas.

The Napoleonic Wars, like all wars, had their celebrities. Chief among them, Wellington and Napoleon, whose petty rivalry and military bravado ensured their status as household names long after Waterloo. But these wars also saw the rise of a new genre of personal and sentimental war literature which took the public by storm. The writers were foot soldiers rather than officers, infantrymen like the Reverend George Gleig and John Malcolm. Both fought in some of the most decisive battles on the Continent but it is their written accounts of their daily lives, of the true nature of war, its personal costs and the terrors endured, which ensured their best-selling status. This is the story of the rise and rise of the military memoir, with foot soldier as hero, and the way his war stories were lapped up with horrified glee by the armchair readers back home, transforming the image of soldiering.

Emma Butcher is a Leverhulme Early Career Researcher at the University of Leicester and a New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to select academics who can turn their research into radio. She is currently writing her second book, Children in the Age of Modern War, has written for the BBC History Magazine and made Radio 3 programmes on the Brontës, child soldiers, and children in art.

Emma Butcher on Kids with Guns https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09vz5lp
Emma Butcher on Branwell Bronte https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05770my

Producer: Jacqueline Smith

Emma Butcher on the publishing phenomenon that was the traumatised Napoleonic Redcoat.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.

03Comrades In Arms20190619

New Generation Thinker Tom Smith's Essay argues that the East German army had a reputation for unbending masculinity so it's surprising how central queerness was to the enterprise. Recorded with an audience at the York Festival of Ideas.

Brutality along the Berlin Wall, monumental Soviet-style parades, rows of saluting soldiers: these are the familiar images of the East German military. Army training promoted toughness, endurance and self-control and forced its soldiers into itchy, shapeless uniforms. Delve deeper, though, and you find countless examples of the army’s fascination with homosexuality. Even more unexpectedly, gay and bisexual soldiers found ways of expressing desires and intimacy. LGBT people have long faced discrimination and violence in arenas aimed at the promotion of traditional masculinity, but look closely and we discover that queerness has not always been as marginalised as we’d think. What can East Germany teach us about masculinity in the twenty-first century?

Tom Smith is Lecturer in German at the University of St Andrews researching gender and sexuality in German culture and a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker on the scheme which selects 10 academics each year to turn their research into radio. He has published on sexuality and masculinity in literature, film and television since the 1960s. His book on masculinity in the East German army is out in 2020. His current project explores the emotional worlds of Berlin’s music scene today.

Meet the 2019 New Generation Thinkers including Tom Smith https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0004dsv

Producer: Jacqueline Smith

Tom Smith on the East German Military's fascination with its soldiers' sexuality

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.

04'bedford, Do You Call This Thing A Coat?' The History Of The Three-piece Suit20190620

New Generation Thinker Sarah Goldsmith's Essay introduces an audience at York Festival of Ideas to Beau Brummel and others who have understood the mixed messages of suits through time.

England football coach Gareth Southgate's pitch-side waistcoats and 007's exquisite collection of Tom Ford suits all make one thing clear: sweatpants are out and the formal man's suit, along with its tailor, has triumphantly returned. From the colourful flamboyances of the eighteenth century to the dandy dictates of Beau Brummell and into the inky black 'Great Renunciation' of the nineteenth century, join Sarah Goldsmith for a whirlwind tour of the origins of the most ubiquitous, enduring item of male sartorial fashion and the 'second skin' of the male body, the three-piece suit.

Sarah Goldsmith is a historian of masculinity, the body and travel. She is a Leverhulme Research Fellow at the University of Leicester, an AHRC/BBC 2018 New Generation Thinker and a life-long rugby fan. Her first book, Masculinity and Danger on the Eighteenth-Century Grand Tour, is being published in 2019.

Sarah Goldsmith on the C18 craze for weightlifting https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00040wg
Sarah Goldsmith discusses the body past and present on Free Thinking https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b7my7k

Producer: Jacqueline Smith

Sarah Goldsmith on an immortal trio jacket, waistcoat and trousers.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.

05The Hard Man In The Call Centre20190621

New Generation Thinker Alistair Fraser on the fates and fortunes of Glaswegian tough guys. Recorded with an audience at the York Festival of Ideas. To hear audience questions, download the Essay as an episode of the BBC Arts&Ideas podcast.

The image of the hard man runs like an electric current through Glasgow's history. Unafraid, unabashed, with outlaw swagger, he stalks the pages of countless crime novels and TV dramas. The unpredictable tough guy, schooled in both fist and knife, a symbol of the city's industrial past. But what does being a hard man mean in the Glasgow of today, now call-centre capital of Europe? And what lessons can be drawn from his changing fates and fortunes to understand masculinity and violence elsewhere?

Alistair Fraser is Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, University of Glasgow and a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker. He has spent the last fifteen years studying youth gangs and street culture around the world, and is author of two academic books, Urban Legends: Gang Identity in the Post-Industrial City (2015, Oxford University Press), and Gangs & Crime: Critical Alternatives (2017, Sage). He makes regular contributions to public debate on gangs and youth violence, and has appeared on BBC Radio 3 and 4 on Thinking Allowed, More or Less, and Free Thinking.

Alistair Fraser in a Free Thinking Festival debate about gangs https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09w7qqg
Alistair Fraser looks at Doing Nothing https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09v66bh
Audience questions of this Essay are found here https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02nrvk3/episodes/downloads

Producer; Jacqueline Smith

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.