Evolving Masculinity Learning Community (EMLC)

The Evolving Masculinity Learning Community (EMLC) is a discussion group for male faculty & staff to explore the evolving definitions and expressions of masculinity and their impact on identity, self-expression and understanding of self, inter-personal relationships, and community. 

Mission Statement: 
To create a space for men to engage in honest dialogue about masculine identity, cultural expectations, and the impact of traditional tenets of masculinity on ourselves and others. To offer each other support and to challenge one another to question traditional models in an effort to reshape a modern understanding of masculinity free of the expectations of dominance, where inter-dependence and cooperation are practiced and valued.

Vision Statement: 
By engaging in dialogue and critique of our lived experiences as men, EMLC seeks to broaden our understanding of modern masculinity, to move toward a world free of violence, domination, and oppression.

Raymond Neal & Stephen Montagna present at the 2018 Diversity Forum
Raymond Neal & Stephen Montagna present at the 2018 Diversity Forum

EMLC launched in November 2018 as a follow-up to a session at the UW-Madison Diversity Forum entitled “How Does Masculinity Evolve?” (co-presented by Stephen Montagna and Raymond Neal). Twenty-seven participants signed up for an email list about the pending group at the end of the session. Twelve men attended the first meeting at Memorial Union on November 16. A group of about eight continued to meet twice monthly through the end of the Spring ’19 semester.

Participants meet to discuss readings and multi-media resources, and bring their personal stories into a conversation which explores our collective understanding of the challenges of being masculine, the hidden nature of privilege, and the stress of having mixed messages (from a culture that demands “performance”, while simultaneously critiquing how we show up and the impact our behavior has on others). The learning goals center around: 

  • How do we cultivate emotional intelligence?
  • How can we deepen our understanding of Patriarchy as a system (how it was/is constructed, how privilege is assigned within it)?
  • How do we create synthesis between one’s inner life & outside actions (e.g.: integrity)?

The EMLC will reconvene in Fall 2019. While meetings are open to all male UW faculty or staff, we do ask for and expect a commitment for regular attendance and participation in order to build community and develop a common understanding of safe & challenging discussions. 

People with questions should contact Stephen Montagna, LCICE Administrative Program Specialist and group Co-Facilitator, at stephen.montagna@wisc.edu.