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Portrait of Cynthia Prescott

Cynthia Prescott

  • Associate Professor, History
    • North American West, Gender, Material Culture, Memory Studies

Contact Info

Office Address

O'Kelly Hall Room 218
221 Centennial Dr Stop 8096
Grand Forks, ND 58202-8096

Biography

Dr. Prescott's work focuses on gender in the American West. She combines social history and material culture methods to study the intersections of gender, social class, and historical memory. Her book, Gender and Generation on the Far Western Frontier (University of Arizona, 2007), traced changing gender roles and ideology among early white settlers in Oregon between 1845 and 1900. Her current research project, Pioneer Mother Monuments: Constructing Cultural Memory will be published by the University of Oklahoma Press in Spring 2019. In it, she traces changing portrayals of race, gender and national identity in pioneer monuments erected from 1890 to the present.  She is also building a companion website for this book, Pioneer Monuments in the American West, that features interactive maps and timelines, and provides images and information about the 200 monuments included in her study. Supported by a Whiting Foundation Public Engagement Seed Grant, she is using the GIS-enabled app Clio to create detailed historical entries and walking tours of 200 sites in the West, with an emphasis on controversial public monuments and shifting representations of race and gender. Prescott is also interested in quilting, particularly examining quilts as a reflection of women's work roles and social class status.

A member of the History Department since 2007, Dr. Prescott serves as the Director of Undergraduate Studies in History. She teaches several courses that are closely related to her research interests, including American women and gender, the American West, and material culture methodology, as well as the introductory United States Since 1877 survey course. She is excited to debut a new class, “Slaves, Citizens and Social Change” that utilizes intensive Reacting to the Past role-playing games to train students to think, speak and write critically about the past. While her academic training is in social history, she has also worked in several areas of public history: museum curatorship, collections management, archival and rare book cataloging, and historic preservation. She is also active in UND's Women & Gender Studies program and is the faculty adviser for our Phi Alpha Theta history honor society chapter. Beyond UND, she is active in several international historical societies and serves as an Associate Fellow at the International Quilt Study Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Books:

Cynthia Culver Prescott. Pioneer Mother Monuments: Constructing Cultural Memory. University of Oklahoma Press, [2019].

Cynthia Culver Prescott. Gender and Generation on the Far Western Frontier. University of Arizona Press, 2007.

Articles and Book Chapters:

Cynthia Culver Prescott. “Settler Colonialism and the Persistence of Pioneer Myths in Western Monuments, 1890-Present,” Journal of the West.  Special issue on Settler Colonialism and the American West, ed. Janne Lahti.  56, no. 4 (Fall 2017): 78-89.

Cynthia Culver Prescott. “Pioneer Mothers for the New Millennium,” in Excavating Memory: Material Culture Approaches to Sites of Remembering and Forgetting, edited by Maria Theresia Starzmann and John R. Roby (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, February 2016), pp. 172-98.

Cynthia Culver Prescott. “Citizenship, Civil Rights, and Electoral Politics” in Picking the President: Understanding the Electoral College, edited by Eric Burin (The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota, 2017), 27-30.

Cynthia Culver Prescott. “Representing the Ideal American Family: Avard Tennyson Fairbanks and the Transformation of the Western Pioneer Monument.” Pacific Historical Review 85, no. 1 (February 2016): 110-42.

Cynthia Culver Prescott. “The All-American Eternal Family: Sacred and Secular Values in Western Pioneer Monuments” in We Are What We Remember: The American Past Through Commemoration, edited by Jeffrey Meriwether and Laura D’Amore (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012), 334-58.

Cynthia Culver Prescott.  “Crazy Quilts and Controlled Lives: Consumer Culture and the Meaning of Women’s Work in the American Far West” in Women and the Material Culture of Needlework and Textiles, 1750-1950, edited by Maureen Daly Goggin and Beth Fowkes Tobin (Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2009), pp. 111-27.

Cynthia Culver Prescott.  “‘Why she didn’t marry him’:  Love, Power and Marital Choice on the Far Western Frontier,” Western Historical Quarterly 38, no. 1 (Spring 2007): 25-46.