Date of Award

May 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks

Committee Members

Carolyn J. Eichner, John D. Hoevler


Anabaptist, Europe, History, Masculinity, Men, Reformation


This thesis studies the connections between the Anabaptist movement during the Protestant Reformation and the alternative masculinities that developed during sixteenth-century Europe. It argues that Anabaptist men challenged traditional gender norms of European society, and through their unique understanding of the Reformation's message of salvation, these men constructed new ideas about masculinity that were at odds with Protestant and Catholic culture. Anabaptist men placed piety and ethics at the center of reform, and argued for the moral improvement of Christians. In separation from Catholics and mainstream Protestants, Anabaptists created a new culture that exhibited behavior often viewed as dangerous. The resulting culture was marginalized and challenged by persecution during the sixteenth century, but survived into the modern era.