Geoff Peck

Date of Award

January 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Elizabeth Harris


City of Clans examines the sociopolitical issues in Pittsburgh following the 2008 economic crisis. The narrative follows a teenage male struggling to break away from a culture that discourages thought, and the work takes the common form of the coming-of-age novel, but one made unique by examining the confluence of athletics, sexuality and political consciousness in the twenty-first century.

City of Clans presents a number of complex relationships, which includes individuals struggling with sexuality, but the novel also examines familial relationships where feelings of love and loyalty are just as strong and often reinforce conventional views of gender and sexuality. City of Clans balances these topics against the broader sociopolitical issues facing Pittsburgh in 2009, issues that, of course, include gender and sexuality, but move further out to critiques of a globalized economy based on finance capitalism, and a local economy now driven by technology-based jobs and pop culture consumerism. The result is a novel that looks back at the history of the labor struggle in America in order to weave the larger contemporary sociopolitical issues into a narrative about the individual struggles that make us human.