Pieter Spierenburg is a professor of history at Erasmus University and the author of The Spectacle of Suffering: Executions and the Evolution of Repression.

Men and Violence

Gender, Honor, and Rituals in Modern Europe and America

Edited by Pieter Spierenburg

History of Crime and Criminal Justice



279 pp. 6x9

$24.95 paper 978-0-8142-0753-6
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Open Access Text


There is growing interest in the history of masculinity and male culture, including violence, as an integral part of a proper understanding of gender.

In almost every historical setting, masculinity and violence are closely linked; certainly violent crime has been overwhelmingly a male enterprise. But violence is not always criminal: in many cultural contexts violence is linked instead to honor and encoded in rituals. We possess only an imperfect understanding of the ways in which aggressive behavior, or the abstention from aggressive behavior, contributes to the construction of masculinity and male honor. Pieter Spierenburg brings together eight scholars to explore the fascinating interrelationship of masculinity, honor, and the body. The essays focus on the United States and western Europe from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries.


  • “Introduction: Masculinity, Violence, and Honor” by Pieter Spierenburg
  • “The Taming of the Noble Ruffian Male Violence and Dueling in Early Modern and Modern Germany” by Ute Frevert
  • “Men of Steel: Dueling, Honor, and Politics in Liberal Italy” by Steven Hughes
  • “The End of the Modern French Duel” by Robert Nye
  • "Knife Fighting and Popular Codes of Honor in Early Modern Amsterdam" by Pieter Spierenburg
  • “Homicide and Knife Fighting in Rome during the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries” by Daniele Boschi
  • “Fights/Fires: Violent Firemen in the Nineteenth-Century American City” by Amy Sophia Greenberg
  • “The Victorian Criminalization of Men” by Martin J. Wiener
  • “White Supremacist Justice and the Rule of Law Honor, Lynching, and the State in Ben Tillman's South Carolina” by Steven Kantrowitz
  • “'The Equal of Some White Men and the Superior of Others’ Masculinity and the 1916 Lynching of Anthony Crawford in Abbeville County, South Carolina” by Terrence Finnegan