Rebecca Scofield

Rebecca Scofield

Ph.D., American Studies '15
Graduate Secondary Field in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality
Assistant Professor of American History, University of Idaho
Photo of alum Rebecca Scofield

Questions of how gender and sexuality operate over time in different cultural contexts have driven my academic research and community involvement. My published work has analyzed a wide range of spaces and popular performances, including the acrylic nail industry in Tokyo, Dolly Parton’s body politics, and gay rodeo. While my geographical area of focus shifted from Japan to the United States between my undergraduate and graduate programs, my fascination with gender studies persisted.

My secondary field in WGS was vital to my success as a Ph.D. candidate in American Studies at Harvard. WGS gave me a second home, provided me with excellent training, and supported my individual interests as I worked with the outstanding and generous faculty through coursework, teaching, and research. Professor Robin Bernstein guided me through the dissertation and job search process with steely determination and unwavering support.

Today I get to work with students and activists on issues of gender and sexuality in my home state of Idaho. As an Assistant Professor of American History at the University of Idaho, I teach courses on gender and race in the US West, women in American society, and gender and body culture. Over the past several years, I have also had the opportunity to work with community organizations like the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence and the Out West in the Rockies archives at the University of Wyoming, a collection dedicated to LGBTQ westerners. With the centennial of the 19th Amendment, I have also collaborated with elementary and secondary school teachers to integrate women’s suffrage history into the classroom through the Idaho Humanities Council.

My book project, Outriders: Rodeo at the Fringes of the American West (University of Washington Press, 2019), expanded my dissertation work by examining the ways in which marginalized communities have used cowboy performance to demand national belonging over the twentieth century. As part of this research, my Gay Rodeo Oral History Project partners with the International Gay Rodeo Association to collect and curate gay rodeoers’ experiences, particularly through a digital exhibit entitled The Voices of Gay Rodeo. This project won a 2019 Whiting Foundation Fellowship that will help us expand our collecting efforts by training five students in oral history methodology and supporting their travel to gay rodeos.

All of the exciting opportunities I have to do this vital work in my region are because of the tools and support I received in Harvard’s WGS program. It is truly a special place created by fantastic humans.

In July 2020, Scofield was featured in The Harvard Gazette's "To Serve Better" series. 


People Terms