Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of English
This thesis investigates the way that magical ability and the lack thereof has been racialized through the deployment of blood-based models of inheritance in young adult fantasy literature. Because of the connection between blood and biology, texts that only allow magical transmission from parent to child place significant limits on who can access witchery, creating systems of privilege that enforce racial and classed hierarchies. I will use magical novels written by Laurie Forest, Graci Kim, Nnedi Okorafor, Amy Rose Capetta, and Daniel José Older to illustrate the hierarchies created by blood-based models, as well as to demonstrate the possibilities that exist when authors utilize open community and mentorship models of magical transfer instead. I will then explain the risks of open systems of magical inheritance, primarily cultural appropriation, that exist in both fantastical texts and in the contemporary magickal community. By utilizing an intersectional feminist approach, this thesis will draw connections between racism, classism, and sexism, and modes of magical transfer that both reinforce and resist these power structures in young adult magical texts (YAMs).
Jipson, Natalie, "Inheritance and Appropriation: Confronting Privilege in Magical Young Adult Fiction" (2022). Theses and Dissertations. 1603.