Gender, Race, and the Construction of the American West

A sepia-toned photograph of a Native American young woman.  She has beaded necklaces wrapped around her neck and is looking directly into the camera.

A photograph of a young Pomo woman taken between 1896 and 1924. The Pomo are a Native American group from Northern California. (Image by Edward S. Curtis from the George Eastman House Collection. Image is in the public domain.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Fall 2014



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Course Description

Course Features

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Course Description

This course explores how gender shaped the historical experiences and cultural productions in the North American West during the time it was being explored, settled, and imagined. The North American West of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries provides a fascinating case study of the shifting meanings of gender, race, citizenship, and power in border societies. As the site of migration, settlement, and displacement, it spawned contests over land, labor disputes, inter-ethnic conflicts and peaceful relations, and many kinds of cultural productions.

The Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies (GCWS)

This course is part of the Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies. The GCWS at MIT brings together scholars and teachers at nine degree-granting institutions in the Boston area who are devoted to graduate teaching and research in Women's Studies and to advancing interdisciplinary Women's Studies scholarship. Learn more about the GCWS.

Related Content

Karen Hansen, Marilynn Johnson, and Lois Rudnick. WGS.640 Gender, Race, and the Construction of the American West. Fall 2014. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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