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Jessica Mary Smith
University of Colorado (Boulder, CO 80303-1058)
Reworking Gender: Labor and Relatedness in the American West

The book traces the construction of gender-neutral conceptions of personhood through the everyday practice of kinship in a Wyoming coal mining community that is home to many women miners. Whereas ethnographies of the industry and the anthropology of kinship and gender tend to focus on the construction of gender difference, I argue that extending recent innovations in the study of kinship to encompass everyday work practices can illuminate the construction of gender similarity. Participant-observation at four coal mines and the larger community suggests that people create kin-ties with their coworkers as well as with their families at home. Framed by the region's unique historical integration of women into the spheres of political economy, the mining families' everyday practices of crafting kinship at both home and work gesture to an emergent, generally gender-neutral conception of personhood that I suggest corresponds with broader shifts in U.S. gender ideologies and practices.

[Grant products]

Project fields:

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2010 – 5/31/2011