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Ben Jordan

Name: Dr. Ben Jordan

At CBU: Dr. Ben Jordan is a professor of History in the School of Arts and oversees the Living Learning Community at CBU. 

Alma Mater: B.A. Bard College, PhD. University of California San Diego

Outside CBU: Dr. Ben Jordan recently finished a new book Modern Manhood and the Boy Scouts of America. You can find a synopsis of the book below, along with a video interview with Dr. Jordan in February, 2016.


Contrary to works arguing that both Boy Scouting and mainstream American manhood emphasized primitive virility and martial aggression in the early twentieth century, this book demonstrates that the Boy Scouts of America promulgated a popular new construct of “modern manhood” that combined nineteenth century men's virtues such as self-control and a diligent work ethic with the scientific efficiency, expert management, and hierarchical loyalty developing boys and men needed for a rapidly urbanizing and industrializing society. 

Scout leaders utilized a scientific, constructive engagement with nature and resource conservation to teach members such values, and to partner with reformers and businessmen to advance a modern vision of “practical citizenship” and nonpartisan service leadership. The book analyzes a wealth of Scout texts and images, policy and membership debates, and local practices as well as surveys and memoirs of boys and leaders reflecting on their experiences in the 1910s and 1920s. By insisting that modern manhood and practical citizenship represented universal values while actively incorporating European immigrant Catholics, Jews, and labor unionists, BSA administrators helped redraw the bounds of mainstream American manhood and citizenship to include light-skinned (and, gradually, African American), working class urban dwellers and corporate-industrial employees while marginalizing traditional rural farmers of all ethnicities.  

You can learn more about the book and its release date at the university of North Carolina Press website, and Dr. Jordan's author profile HERE.