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Tea Talks: Mining, Masculinity and Race in American Reality TV

Dr. Brian Leech, associate professor of history, will present the Tea Talk "White Men in Cold Places: the Portrayal of Mining, Masculinity, and Race in American Reality TV."

Abstract: Starting in the 19th century, Americans began to associate gold rushes with adventurous white men who, despite facing extreme conditions and supposedly hostile indigenous people, managed to strike it rich. Best-selling books like the Jack London's  "The Call of the Wild" brought these ideas into the 20th century, even if London used a dog as his stand in for white masculinity.

Instead of disappearing, though, these old colonial themes have been replicated by reality TV shows like "Alaska Gold Diggers," "Ice Cold Gold," and "Gold Rush: Parker's Trail." Despite their focus on modern-day mining, these shows often point to or even replay famous mine rushes to highlight the connections between the past and present. The end result? A continued suggestion that only hard-working white men can conquer the cold tundra.

Now entering its 12th year, the Tea Talks lecture series features speakers on a range of topics. The series is sponsored by the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program.

All lectures are held from 4:15 p.m.-5:15 p.m. in the Wilson Center on campus.

Lectures are free and open to the public as well as the campus community. Refreshments are served.


Wilson Center

Augustana College
3750 7th Ave.
Rock Island, IL 61201
United States

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