Karen Chandler

English Courses Recently Taught:

ENG 603: Studies in Genre: Autobiographical Writing and Film
ENG 420: American Literature, 1865-1910
ENG 423: African American Literature, 1845-the present
ENG 300: Introduction to English Studies
ENG 550: Studies in African American Literature
ENG 686: African American Literature and Criticism
ENG 311: American Literature to 1865

Educational Background

  • Ph.D. from University of Pennsylvania

Teaching Areas

  • American Literature
  • African-American Literature
  • Film
  • Literacy Studies
  • Children's and YA literature
  • Historical narrative
  • Readers

Research Interests

  • I am researching and writing about children’s and young adult literature, American and African American literature and vernacular cultures. Julius Lester is the focus of one current project; literature about and illustrations of jazz performance are the focus of another.

Professional Memberships

  • Member, Children's Literature Association


“Creative Defiance in Juan Francisco Manzano’s The Autobiography of a Slave and Margarita Engle’s The Poet Slave of Cuba.Sankofa: A Journal of African Children’s and Young Adult Literature 10 (2011): 46-54. Print.

“Partial Measures.” Saraba 8 (2011): 9-14. Web.

“Preserving ‘that Racial Memory’: Figurative Language, Sonnet Sequence, and the Work of

Remembrance in Marilyn Nelson’s A Wreath for Emmett Till.” The Southern Quarterly: The Legacy of Emmett Till (special issue) 45 (Summer 2008): 101-117.

“Paths to Freedom: Literacy and Folk Ways in Recent Children’s Narratives about Slavery.” CLAQ (Children’s Literature Association Quarterly) 31 (Spring 2006): 3-26.

“‘Wonderful Dealings’: Making African-American Selfhood Speak through Colonial Literary Conventions in John Marrant’s Conversion and Captivity Narrative.” MAWA Review 16 (June/Dec 2001): 20-39.

“Charles Chesnutt’s Cultural Exchange: Race and the Reading of Melodrama in ‘Her Virginia Mammy.’” South Central Review 17 (Summer 2000): 6-23.

“Folk Culture and Masculine Identity in Charles Burnett’s To Sleep with Anger.”  African American Review 33 (1999): 299-311.

“Funeral Imagery in Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” Obsidian III 1

(1999): 239-250.

“Nella Larsen’s Fatal Polarities: Melodrama and Its Limits in Quicksand.” CLA Journal 42

(1998): 24-47.

"Agency and Social Constraint: Jane Campion's The Portrait of a Lady."  The Henry James

Review 18 (Spring 1997): 191-193.

“Agency and Stella Dallas: Audience, Melodramatic Directives, and Social Determinism in

1920s America."  Arizona Quarterly 51 (Winter 1995): 27-44.

Paths to Freedom: Literacy and Folk Traditions in Recent Narratives about Slavery and Emancipation
Children's Literature Association Quarterly (CLAQ) 31 (2006):3-26

"Kin Flicks" in I TO I: Life Writing by Kentucky Feminists, ed. Elizabeth Oakes and Jane Olmsted


"'Wonderful Dealings': Making African-American Selfhood Speak Through Colonial Literary Conventions in John Marrant's Conversion and Indian Captivity Narrative" in MAWA REVIEW