Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.
Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.
Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.
Author ORCID Identifier
Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Dr. Asha Nadkarni
Dr. Laura Furlan
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.
Mooney, Shannon, "No There There: New Jersey in Multiethnic Writing and Popular Culture Since 1990" (2022). Doctoral Dissertations. 2682.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Available for download on Friday, September 01, 2023