Jarvis, Christina S.
Jarvis, Christina S.
Married Thomas Annear (an artist); children: Christopher and Calder. Education: Rutgers University, B.A. (with highest honors), 1993; Pennsylvania State University, M.A., 1995, Ph.D., 2000.
State University of New York at Fredonia (SUNY Fredonia), assistant professor, 2000-04, associate professor of English and director of American studies program, 2004—.
Harold L. Pool Prize in History, 1993, for outstanding senior honors thesis; Women's Studies Outstanding Graduate Student Award, 1996; Outstanding New Advisor, SUNY Fredonia, 2001; Scholarly Incentive Award, SUNY Fredonia, 2002; Alma Mater Society Award in recognition of leadership and service accomplishments, SUNY Fredonia, 2006; State University of New York Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2007.Recipient of research fellowships and grants from Pennsylvania State University, including the Liberal Arts Fellowship, the Graduate School, 1995-97; English Department Dissertation Support Grant, 1998; Andrew V. Kozak Fellowship, 1999; Research and Graduate Studies Dissertation Support Grant, College of Liberal Arts, 1999; and Interdisciplinary Dissertation and Creative Projects Award, Institute for the Arts and Humanistic Studies, 1999. American Association of University Women American Dissertation Fellowship, 1999-2000. SUNY Fredonia, Title III Technology Grant, 2001; Title III General Education Award, 2001.
The Male Body at War: American Masculinity during World War II, Northern Illinois University Press (DeKalb, IL), 2004.
Contributor to books, including Boyhood in America: An Encyclopedia, Volumes 1 and 2, edited by Priscilla Ferguson-Clement and Jacqueline Reinier, ABC-Clio (Denver, CO), 2001; The Oxford Companion to the Body, edited by Colin Blakemore, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2001; William Faulkner: Six Decades of Criticism, edited by Linda Wagner-Martin, Michigan State University Press (Lansing, MI), 2002; Americans at War: Society Culture, and the Homefront, edited by John S. Resch, Macmillan (New York, NY), 2005; Vaeter, Soldaten, Liebhaber: Maenner und Maennlichkeiten in der Geschichte Nordamerikas—ein Reader, translated by Nora Kreuzenbeck, Hamburger Edition (Hamburg, Germany), 2007.
Contributor to scholarly journals, including Women's Studies, Southern Quarterly, Journal of Men's Studies: A Scholarly Journal about Men and Masculinities, American Historical Review, and War, Literature, and the Arts.
Christina S. Jarvis is an English professor who regularly teaches courses on twentieth-century American literature and culture; her research encompasses gender studies, war and popular culture, contemporary sustainability issues, feminist theory and family studies. In her first book, The Male Body at War: American Masculinity during World War II, Jarvis explores and analyzes the creation of the idealized American representation of the male body from the Great Depression through the Cold War. Drawing from popular literature and films, comic books, advertisements, military regulations and documents, recruitment posters, memoirs, and interviews with veterans, Jarvis tracks the development of the emblematic image of American masculinity: the broad shouldered, well-muscled white soldier.
Jarvis begins her book by examining how Depression-era government policies helped reinvigorate American ideas about masculinity. She contrasts the image of confident male prowess projected by President Franklin D. Roosevelt with the fact of his crippling disability. Jarvis goes on to explain how the selection, training, recruitment, and education practices used by the U.S. military crafted the image of an American man as healthy, clean-cut, and heterosexual. She devotes a chapter to exploring how the prominence of this image overshadowed those of women and minorities. Finally, Jarvis analyzes how the return of wounded and dead soldiers, which would tend to undermine the image of indomitable male strength, was used to reinforce the image and buttress popular commitment to the war effort.
This broad, interdisciplinary work was applauded for its theoretical underpinnings. Nonetheless, several reviewers voiced concern that Jarvis relied too heavily on secondary sources and works of fiction. Bill Osgerby, writing for the American Historical Review, commented: "Some readers … might be uneasy about the way Jarvis uses novels such as James Jones's The Thin Red Line as historical evidence." Robert Dean expanded on this in the Journal of American History. He lamented the lack of more direct accounts from men and women of the period, indicating that Jarvis's heavy use of literature as historical documents is "certainly a valid source for a cultural study of the era, but perhaps not the most representative of the entire range of men's experience."
Reviewers were at odds when discussing Jarvis's exploration of the cultural interpretation of dead soldiers. Several felt Jarvis's argument was lacking. For example, Janet G. Valentine wrote in the Canadian Journal of History: "Unfortunately, the place of the dead in the male body politic is less clear. Jarvis's discussion of the way in which death and memorialization connect with masculinity and the male body politic during World War II lacks focus and organization." But other reviewers made a point of noting this section for special praise. Gregory L. Kaster wrote in History: Review of New Books that the "book's most original and fascinating chapters concern wounded and dead bodies, respectively."
Osgerby concluded that The Male Body at War is "a meticulously researched, incisive, and at times very poignant analysis," adding that "Jarvis presents a lucid, compelling account of the ways in which wartime ideals of masculinity were elaborated and embodied. Making a valuable contribution both to the social historiography of World War II and to scholarship related to the social construction of the body, her book will appeal to a diverse readership." Kaster confirmed that The Male Body at War is "an important and timely contribution to the growing body of scholarship on the history of American masculinity and its relationship to war and national identity. Her focus on masculinity during World War II helps rectify a serious omission in that scholarship."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, October 1, 2005, Bill Osgerby, review of The Male Body at War: American Masculinity during World War II, p. 1208.
Canadian Journal of History, December 22, 2006, Janet G. Valentine, review of The Male Body at War, p. 597.
English Studies Forum, summer, 2004, E. Stone Shiflet, "Brains behind the Brawn."
History: Review of New Books, March 22, 2005, Gregory L. Kaster, review of The Male Body at War, p. 94.
Journal of American History, March, 2005, Robert Dean, review of The Male Body at War, p. 1521.
Journal of American Studies, August 1, 2005, Gregory W. Walker, review of The Male Body at War, p. 322.
Reference & Research Book News, May 1, 2004, review of The Male Body at War, p. 136.
H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online,http://www.h-net.org/ (August 1, 2004), Dawn Ottevaere, review of The Male Body at War.
Northern Illinois University Press Web site,http://www.niupress.niu.edu/ (May 19, 2008), overview of The Male Body at War.
SUNY Freedonia Web site,http://www.fredonia.edu/ (May 19, 2008), author profile.