Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Multiculturalism, PEN/Faulkner, PEN/Oakland, William Faulkner Foundation, John Edgar Wideman, David Bradley, Ha Jin, Luis J. Rodriguez, Julia Alvarez, Sabina Murray

Major Advisor

Dr. Cathy J. Schlund-Vials

Associate Advisor

Dr. Clare Eby

Associate Advisor

Dr. Kate Capshaw

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Campus Access


“Prizing Difference: PEN Awards and Multiculturalist Politics in American Fiction” considers the multivalent ways in which literary prizes – particularly the PEN/Faulkner prize – highlight a contested set of multiculturalist politics in the U.S. literary canon. Focusing on historical flashpoints such as the mid-century Civil Rights movement, the culture wars of the 1980s, and the 1992 L.A. Riots/Uprisings, I investigate the ways in which shifting understandings of ethnic difference generate competing ideas of what it might mean to successfully incorporate cultural diversity in the U.S. As a significant site of literary canon formation through the recognition and promotion of its prizewinners, the Poets, Essayists and Novelists (PEN) organization has increasingly engaged a multiculturalist agenda through its tactical recognition of ethnic American authors. “Prizing Difference” critically engages this agenda through an examination of how this preoccupation with racial difference in prizewinning novels intersects with competing notions of national identity and belonging. I examine the works of authors such as Luis J. Rodriguez, Julia Alvarez, Philip Roth, David Bradley, John Edgar Wideman, Julie Otsuka, Ha Jin, and Sabina Murray.

Available for download on Saturday, April 29, 2028