Amy Rutenberg

Assistant Professor and Co-Coordinator, Social Studies Education Program
Office:617 Ross
527 Farm House Ln
Ames IA
Vita:Amy Rutenberg CV

In the broadest terms, my research focuses on the relationship between gender and war in twentieth-century America. More specifically, I am interested in how Americans’ different understandings of masculinity and femininity have shaped the process of planning, mobilizing, and demobilizing for war as well as how that process has supported and altered Americans’ understandings of masculinity and femininity. My current manuscript project, tentatively entitled Citizen-Civilians: Cold War Military Manpower Policy and the Origins of Vietnam-Era Draft Resistance, argues that military manpower policies developed to meet Cold War military needs unintentionally strengthened men’s already existent ambivalence toward military service. In an act of overt social engineering, the Selective Service explicitly defined certain civilian pursuits, especially those that supported a particular model of middle-class (breadwinning masculinity) as service to the state and granted deferments to men who pursued them. Ultimately, these policies weakened the relationship between masculine forms of citizenship and military service and laid the groundwork for widespread, public draft-avoidance behavior during the Vietnam War, especially among middle-class men. Portions of this work have been published in Cold War History and the collection Gender in the Long Postwar: Reconsiderations of the United States and the Two Germanys, 1945-1975 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014), edited by Karen Hagemann and Sonya Michel. My next project will be a gendered history of the Vietnam Veteran’s Movement.