Risky Natures: Gender and Race in the American Adrenaline Narrative

Wednesday, November 28, 2018
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM (CT)
Memorial Student Center Ballroom A
Event Type
Academic Events and Lectures
Rickie-Ann Legleitner

Extreme sports cultures push physical and mental boundaries and, as a result, are associated with counterculture. Because of their anti-establishment ethics and lifestyle, one might expect their commitment to social and environmental justice to be equally extreme. An examination of risk, gender, and race in post-1970 nonfiction American adventure narratives, however, reveals the status quo remains firmly in place: first, physical risk or the fear of bodily harm in the form of injury, death, or sexual assault polices female and minority adventurers in ways distinct from their white male counterparts. Second, the gendered and raced nature of risk reveals colonial practices continue to shape travel beyond the adventurers’ American homes. These two themes of fear and containment reveal little has changed in the ways Americans are socialized to negotiate risk—extreme or mundane.

Drawing from contemporary American adrenaline narratives, ethnographic research on American “edge work” or extreme risk, and postcolonial ecocriticism, this talk considers the ways in which adventuring women and minorities remain problematic subjects and objects.

The talk will encourage connections to the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter movements as well as ask the audience to consider how these narratives model a methodology of engaging risk in a time of global climate change.

Guest speaker Kristin J. Jacobson is a professor of American Literature, American Studies, and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Stockton University.

This event is cosponsored by Women and Gender Studies, the Honors College, the Literature Committee, the Diversity Bridge Team, and the Sustainability Steering Committee.

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