Jeanine Quené

PhD candidate American History

Born and raised in the Netherlands, I received my BA from University College Utrecht, the honours college of Utrecht University, majoring in History and Political Science. After receiving my BA, I studied for an MA in United States Studies: History and Politics at University College London (UCL). My MA dissertation focused on the role of women in the formation of the Ku Klux Klan's ideology between 1915-1930, and was awarded the Roosevelt Dissertation Prize. After graduation, I worked as a Political Intern at the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Washington, D.C., studying policy, U.S. politics and foreign relations.

My doctoral research, supported by the Cambridge Trust and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), explores the race and gender politics of conservative white women preoccupied with the ‘civilizing process’ in early twentieth century America. My research focuses on three case studies of women - Alma White (a bishop from New Jersey), Rebecca Felton (a reformer from Georgia) and Estelle Reel (the superintendent of Indian Schools, originally from Wyoming) – who believed that the civilizing process required conservative social norms and racial separation, as well as female political empowerment. They sought to increase female political power while seeking to turn that power in conservative directions in order to enact ‘civilization.’ The dissertation examines four elements thought by these women to be central to civilized life: restrained sexuality, the institution of marriage, female suffrage, and the maintenance of proper boundaries between the races. It argues that the civilization vision articulated by each of these women was shaped profoundly by their interaction with racial others: eastern and southern Europeans in the Northeast, African Americans in the South, and Native Americans in the West. In doing so, this dissertation uncovers how conservative women constructed white womanhood vis-à-vis racial others in the early twentieth century. I am supervised by Professor Gary Gerstle. In addition to histories of gender, race and class, I am also very interested in political history, political science, current U.S. politics, American foreign policy and the digital humanities.

Paper 24: The History of the United States from 1865 (supervisor)


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