Courtesy Annalise Shingler.jpg

Gender, Labor, and Kinship in Mining

Though mining is an infamously masculine industry, women make up 20 percent of all production crews in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin—the largest coal-producing region in the United States. Drawing on extended ethnographic fieldwork in active mines, plus my own experiences growing up in Gillette and working as a haul truck driver myself, I investigated how gender came to matter -- and not -- in the everyday work and kinship practices of miners. My book Mining Coal and Undermining Gender: Rhythms of Work and Family in the American West, offers a rich and surprising view of the working “families” that miners construct. In this picture, gender roles are not nearly as straightforward—or as straitened—as stereotypes suggest.

Funding: National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship, National Science Foundation grant 0612829