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Author ORCID Identifier


Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Dr. Asha Nadkarni

Second Advisor

Dr. Laura Furlan

Third Advisor

Dr. Kimberlee Perez


No There There: New Jersey in Multiethnic Writing and Popular Culture Since 1990 asks why the turn of the twenty-first century witnessed a proliferation of literary and cultural texts set in the state of New Jersey. Working across genres and mediums, I probe at these texts’ engagements with white ethnicity, identity, and difference, and show how writers, artists, and public figures were engaged in similar but competing efforts to construct “New Jerseyness” as a distinct category of identification that is constructed, expressed, and maintained through the logic of identity politics and of multiculturalism. Through analyzing novels by Philip Roth and Junot Díaz, popular television shows such as The Sopranos and Jersey Shore, the political rhetoric of New Jersey’s governors, and the music of Bruce Springsteen and Naughty by Nature, I explore how claims to this particular regional identity offer resistance to national categories of identification in the face of failed federal policies, while also reinforcing hegemonic categories of belonging. Ultimately, No There There argues that New Jersey’s cultural production has emerged as a site for presenting whiteness with a “Jersey” difference, exposing how claims to New Jersey leverage white ethnic identity, thereby masking or denying whiteness’s inherent power and privilege.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Available for download on Friday, September 01, 2023