Phoebe S.K. Young F'09

Phoebe S.K. Young
Associate Professor
University of Colorado Boulder

ACLS Fellowship Program 2009
Assistant Professor
University of Pennsylvania
Rough Comfort: The Public Culture of Camping in America

This study chronicles individualized camping in the United States from its roots in customary travel practice in the mid-nineteenth century to the modern public and commercial infrastructure for leisure campers in the late twentieth century. At the beginning of this chronology, camping existed as an ordinary choice of travel method. A century later, it entailed a distinct experience containing specific social and national values. Along the way the campground became a crucial venue for negotiating a range of social identities. The evolution of practices of sleeping outside suggests how Americans defined the cultural shifts of modern life, understood the role of nature in public culture, and debated notions of civic belonging.