Title page for ETD etd-04162009-120741


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Matthews, Jessica Susan
Author's Email Address jmatt16@lsu.edu
URN etd-04162009-120741
Title Moving Over Mountains: A Woman on the Appalachian Trail
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Geography & Anthropology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Helen A. Regis Committee Chair
Dydia DeLyser Committee Member
Mary J Brody Committee Member
Miles Richardson Committee Member
Keywords
  • Hiking
  • Embodiment
  • Mobility
  • Phenomenology
  • Autoethnography
  • Place
  • Gender
  • Appalachian Trail
Date of Defense 2009-03-17
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
This project examines the experience of a woman on the Appalachian Trail. It is my aim in undertaking this project to evaluate my own personal experiences in order to explore the way the Appalachian Trail is conceptualized as a space, and then experienced as a place. My own experiences will be connected to and contrasted by experiences I have with other hikers. It is through my own experiences and those of others that I hope to highlight the ways that spaces and mobilities are gendered in our society and the ways that those expectations are usurped.

The wilderness might be one of the last places in the United States considered by many to be male dominated physically and ideologically. While this might be enough to keep some women away from the trail, the women thru hiking the trail have given up on that notion and embarked on a six month long journey into an imagined unknown and an actually well charted territory. Understanding more about how gendered spaces are negotiated within the space itself will further our understanding of the ways that conceptualizations are adapted to meet with experience. After all, ideology and practice do not always match up. Just because there is an understood rule or set of expectations does not stop people from pushing the limits and overturning the conceptions. I believe that for the women walking on the trail, they have successfully overcome the expectations and made a place of their own.

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