Virginia Scharff: A Woman in Motion

in Mobility in History
Margaret Walsh

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Mobility is a sine qua non for members of T2M. It is also a main trait of histories of the American West. Virginia Scharff, Distinguished Professor of History and Director of the Center for the Southwest at the University of New Mexico, is well known for her research and publications in transport and travel and in the American West. In both of these areas she has promoted a gendered approach to mobility. For T2M members, especially those who are not based in North America or who have not worked in gender materials, she is probably best known for her pioneering book on women and cars, Taking the Wheel, published twenty years ago. By working flexibly in American history and in public history to bring new

approaches to ‘the task of following women around’, Scharff has reached a varied audience, both academic and general. Her approach to history may offer the most positive way in which to disseminate both research and ideas about the impact of gendered movement in the past.

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