This thesis synthesizes aspects of women’s history, delinquency history, and American West history in order to produce a new perspective on how sexuality, prescribed gender roles and socially constructed concepts of public and private were challenged during the Progressive period in America. This contestation is especially evident in the ways women participated in and resisted against government agencies and institutions. Female juvenile delinquency and the newly-constructed juvenile justice system exemplified the social tensions surrounding women, sexuality, gender roles, and public behavior at the turn of the century. In Colorado, these gendered anxieties were exacerbated by conflicting visions of femaleness that defined frontier life. The Colorado State Industrial School for Girls exemplifies women’s engagement in government systems and institutions during the Progressive Era for several reasons. The region’s early frontier character and its “Wild West” reputation required flexibility in its citizen’s gender roles. Additionally, the state’s progressive character provided an early window for women’s political participation. At the same time, Colorado reformers and politicians attempted to emulate the East’s traditional patriarchal structure which ultimately reinforced gender normative concepts. The combination of flexible frontier gender roles and attempts to recreate Eastern norms created an ambiguous social, cultural, and political landscape in which women were paradoxically offered and denied legitimate avenues for public participation.
|Commitee:||Connolly, Catherine, Kamp, Marianne|
|School:||University of Wyoming|
|School Location:||United States -- Wyoming|
|Source:||MAI 49/05M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||American history, Womens studies, Criminology|
|Keywords:||Colorado, Gender deviancy, Industrial school, Juvenile delinquency|
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