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News Release

June 18, 2018

Ford authors article discussing complexities of cowboy image, gay rodeo

Dr. Elyssa Ford

Dr. Elyssa Ford

An article authored by Dr. Elyssa Ford, an associate professor of history at Northwest Missouri State University, recently appeared in May edition of Critical Studies in Men's Fashion.

Ford’s article, “Becoming the West: Cowboys as Icons of Masculine Style for Gay Men,” reviews the cowboy as a symbol of the American man and the gay rodeo’s depiction as a place for gay men to be “real” men. The gay rodeo, Ford writes, is a complex space where an interplay exists between the standard masculine cowboy and the subversively homosexual one.

Critical Studies in Men’s Fashion examines the multi-faceted dimensions of men’s appearance and topics of gender, identity, sexuality, culture, marketing and business.

Ford, who joined the Northwest faculty in 2011, teaches courses in U.S. history and women’s history, while her research focuses on women’s history, specifically looking at gender, race, sexuality, identity and memory. Previously, she taught at Paradise Valley Community College in Arizona and held fellowships at Rowan University in New Jersey and Babes-Bolyai University in Romania. She also has professional experience working at multiple museums, including the National Cowgirl Museum and the Arizona Jewish Historical Society.

She has a bachelor's degree from Colby College in Maine and earned her master’s, doctorate and graduate certificate in museum studies from Arizona State University.


Dr. Mark Hornickel
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