Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Deborah Logan (Director), Kelly Reames, Jane Fife

Degree Program

Department of English

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Steampunk is a progressive literary genre that evokes, imitates, and re-imagines the nineteenth century and favors the Industrial Revolution ideals of science and technology. In a historical framework, it mixes nineteenth-century conventions and retrofuturistic machinery with science fiction and fantasy elements. Steampunk authors are able to radically redefine socio-cultural implications that affect both past and contemporary societies. The following study explores the multitude of characteristics that define Steampunk literature as an interdisciplinary study. Chapter 1 explores the definitions and literary genres that construct Steampunk and includes a brief literary history of Steampunk works. Chapter 2 focuses on Cherie Priest’s novel Boneshaker (2009), which depicts self-sufficient females battling hardships in America’s last frontier. Chapter 3 looks at how Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series (2010-2013) illustrates female identity as a performance in an age of technological progression and cultural revolutions. The female characters in Priest’s and Clare’s novels resist hegemonic conventions and create an alternative vision of nineteenth-century women.


English Language and Literature | Literature in English, British Isles | Literature in English, North America