Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Bill V. Mullen

Committee Chair

Bill V. Mullen

Committee Member 1

Janet Alsup

Committee Member 2

Jennifer Freeman Marshall

Committee Member 3

Patsy Schweickart


This project argues that the adult/young adult division has the effect of maintaining social difference—especially along the lines of race and gender—while simultaneously ignoring the process of maintaining social hierarchies that occurs during the publication, reviewing and educational selection processes. Chapter One brings together the history of YAL as a pedagogical tool with its publishing history in order to show that both forces have redefined the genre in response to changing notions of social responsibility tied to American citizenship. There were five major eras within the history of young adult literature, each of which responded to changing notions of citizenship. Chapter Two is a case study of The House on Mango Street (1984) by Sandra Cisneros that examines the effect of texts popularized by young readers on commercial and small press publishing. The House on Mango Street serves as an example of how multicultural education not only influenced the classroom, but together with small, independent presses, increased publication of racially diverse authors during the 1980s and 1990s. Chapter Three interrogates assumptions about the gender bias in young adult publishing that privileges women writers. This chapter reveals how a post-feminist view of publishing creates a false assumption that women dominate YAL at the publication, distribution and consumer levels. Chapter Four outlines the development of “militarization” stories through analysis of Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games series and Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game. The marketing mechanisms for twenty-first century militarization stories promote crossover reading across gender and age lines while simultaneously undercutting a text’s social criticism. Pedagogy and Profit suggests that the study of the publishing industry and educational reform is necessary to scholarship on twentieth century literature.