Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


English & Film Studies

Program Name/Specialization

Gender and Genre


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Dr. Kenneth Paradis

Advisor Role

Doctoral Supervisor

Second Advisor

Dr. Philippa Gates

Third Advisor

Dr. Kathryn Carter


The Mockery of Things: Material Culture and Domestic Ideology in the Detective Fiction of Anna Katharine Green examines how a popular genre author like Anna Katharine Green (1846-1935) uses objects to articulate middle-class identity and social constructions in late-nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century America. During that era, the home as both a physical space and an ideological signifier was a central tenet in American middle-class identity. Focusing on domestically situated objects – clothing, household furnishings and domestic architecture – this dissertation considers how such items, which have tended to be read in support of domestic identity, instead function within the context of Green’s detective fiction as a covert critique the period’s prevailing ideologies of gender, class and consumption. Considering these tangible goods in this novel way also serves to illuminate the real-world shifts and social changes that occurred in America over the fifty year period between the end of the American Civil War and its entry into the First World War. Popular fiction such as that written by Anna Katharine Green offers the opportunity to critically trace the consequences of the period’s widespread valorization of domesticity and the home, the changing place of women in society in nineteenth-century America and the implications that new access to material culture offered for social mobility, class identity and criminal culpability.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season