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© 2020 Jissel Becerra. All rights reserved. This work is freely available courtesy of the author. It may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


History Department

First Advisor

Megan Brown


This thesis sets out with the aim of making an intervention in the study of gender and sexuality in the eighteenth century by centering shame in the construction of polite masculinity and sodomy in eighteenth-century Britain. Utilizing key insights from Habermas’ idea of the ‘public sphere,’ and theories of gender and sexuality by Randolph Trumbach, this paper proposes that the figure of the fop and the sodomite, together, became shameful models in their lack of proper masculinity and ‘excess’ of vice. Through this analysis, this paper highlights how eighteenth-century emphasis on manners, politeness, and Protestant morality, and pubic virtue facilitated the renegotiation of the divide between the public and the private as to deny the ‘sodomite’ right to privacy. Finally, this thesis aims to emphasize the disciplinary society that was evolving via discourses of morality and self-mastery, shame, and eventually, public punishments of the sodomite.

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