Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis



Thesis Type

Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors

First Advisor

Jessica Evans

Second Advisor

Jacques Bailly


Percy Jackson, white supremacy, American exceptionalism, Western civilization


America’s perception of the Classics and ancient civilizations informs beliefs of American exceptionalism and white supremacy. Early Americans formed a national identity that centered around an appropriated history of the classical world of Greece and Rome, creating an identity that was inherently superior because of this connection. Rick Riordan’s series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians engages with these narratives of American superiority because of the connection to the ancient past. Riordan engages with American history in connection with the Classics by citing positive aspects of American development that are associated with the ancient world—democracy, architecture, and scientific development—while dismissing the negative sides of America’s manifestation of the ancient world. Riordan reinforces positive narratives of America and Western civilization which limits the audience’s view of the harm perpetuated by Americans and others included in the categorization of Western civilization against people of color. Riordan’s series, like American connection to the Classics, prioritizes and privileges associations of whiteness and Western civilization. In my research, I analyze the origins of narratives of white supremacy, American exceptionalism, and Western civilization. I then explore the ways Riordan uses these ideas in Percy Jackson to create a narrative that amplifies them in a modern setting.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.