Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Jay Rajiva

Second Advisor

Christopher Kocela

Third Advisor

Randy Malamud


How do authors Ursula K. LeGuin and Samuel R. Delany, both of whose work is closely concerned with social constructs of gender and sexuality, open space for underrepresented voices in the structure of their works framed by restrictive genre conventions? The primary structural focus of the study will be on affordances, a term Caroline Levine draws from design theory to examine the narrative and thematic possibilities made available by specific formal elements of a text. Ursula Le Guin’s and Samuel Delany’s early novels both feature marked structural departures from their genre conventions. By attending to the affordances these authors open for themselves by these departures, I intend to demonstrate both the new narrative possibilities for the exploration of social constructs pursued by the texts and a reflexive understanding of the values embedded in the genre conventions they interrupt.