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Department of English

Karen Stein

Karen Stein Professor of English and Women’s Studies

Ph.D. University of Connecticut
M.A. Pennsylvania State University
B.A. Brooklyn College

Office: 208B Swan Hall
Phone: 401-874-9018
Office Hours: TBA, Fall 2014

Professor Stein publishes on contemporary North American women writers, especially Margaret Atwood and Toni Morrison. She is especially interested in the ways that contemporary women writers inflect Gothic themes and motifs. On two occasions, Professor Stein was honored with the Woman of the Year award from two organizations: the URI Association of Professional and Academic Women in 1993, and the Rhode Island Commission on Women in 2007. She has served as Chair of the English Department and Director of the Women's Studies Program at URI. She received a sabbatical and a Humanities Faculty Fellowship from URI in 2008-2009. In Fall 2009 she will teach a graduate course on Toni Morrison, ENG 660.

Graduate Courses taught include: ENG 510, Introduction to Professional Studies, a course designed to explore research strategies, to familiarize students with the culture and practices of academic institutions, and to prepare students for entering the academic profession.

Undergraduate courses taught include: ENG 260 Women and Literature –topics vary. Most recent topic was fiction by North American women writers. Karen Stein, Margaret Atwood Revisited (book jacket)

Recent publications include: Margaret Atwood Revisited. Twayne, 1999 as well as two essays in Margaret Atwood's Textual Assassinations: Recent Poetry and Fiction, edited by Sharon Rose Wilson. Ohio State University Press, 2003: "Talking Back to Bluebeard: Margaret Atwood's Fictional Storytellers," pp. 154-171 and "Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin: A Left-Handed Story," pp. 135-153.

Current projects include:
1. A grant proposal to develop a cadre of information literacy mentors who will help undergraduate students conduct research.

2. Development of a 15-credit Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies. Students in English will be able to count coursework on women’s and gender issues toward the certificate.

Professor Stein published Reading, Learning, Teaching Toni Morrison in 2009. Intended as a resource for students and teachers, the book draws on contemporary scholarship and Morrison's own commentary to explicate all of her novels published to date, including her 2008 novel A Mercy. Morrison won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. Her profound and complex novels address problems such as slavery, violence, poverty, and sexual abuse. Morrison's work encompasses a project of total cultural renewal: she re-imagines and reaffirms the experience of African Americans from the earliest days of slavery up to the present, avoiding stereotypes or oversimplification. She employs African and Western literary traditions and conventions as a basis for both structure and critique, re-writing some of the "master narratives" of American culture and history. Stein's book analyzes Morrison's novels in the context of African American history and literature, and provides supplemental material to guide teachers and students to understand and appreciate Morrison's novels.