Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2018

Document Type


Type of Thesis

General Honors

First Advisor

Abby Hickcox

Second Advisor

Jennifer Fluri

Third Advisor

Kelly Hurley

Fourth Advisor

Paul Strom


This thesis aims to understand patterns of whiteness, racism, masculinity, and misogyny in outdoor culture through the specific example of Philmont Scout Ranch. These patterns are linked to nationalism in the roots of environmentalism, as well as the Boy Scouts of America. To investigate these themes in both environmentalism as a whole and Philmont specifically, I researched existing literature on environmental exclusion, modern racism, nationalism, and environmental literature. I also interviewed twelve staff members at Philmont to gain a more direct understanding of these patterns and their implications. Specific themes of Boy Scout ideals, environmental ethics, rugged individualism, sexism, and whitewashed history emerged consistently in my interviews, painting a bigger picture of exclusion in the environmental movement and the culture surrounding the movement. Philmont’s exclusions are symptomatic of greater trends of exclusion in the environmental movement that create an ideal of white masculinity in the outdoors.