Bradshaw, Laura Hepp. “Naturalized Citizens: Conservation, Gender, and the Tennessee Valley Authority during the New Deal.” (Under the direction of Dr. Katherine Mellen Charron and Dr. Matthew Morse Booker.)
Broadly, this thesis is an examination of the conservation movement and the Tennessee Valley Authority from the Progressive Era through the New Deal. The creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1933 had been premised upon earlier efforts to capture the river’s power and harness it to meet social needs. Harnessing hydroelectricity to remedy social and economic conditions in the South required both environmental engineering techniques and social engineering methods. By placing women at the center of the story, both in terms of their activism in bringing a conservation plan in the Tennessee River Valley into fruition, and in terms of the gendered implications of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s power policy, this thesis seeks to reexamine the invisible role that the construction of power politics had on the South, and the nation as a whole.