Karen Van Meenen Headshot

Karen Van Meenen

Senior Lecturer

Department of English
College of Liberal Arts

585-475-6925
Office Location

Karen Van Meenen

Senior Lecturer

Department of English
College of Liberal Arts

Education

BA, Binghamton University; CAPF, International Federation for Biblio/Poetry Therapy; MA, Vermont College; MA, The New School; ABD, Ph.D., European Graduate School

Bio

Areas of Interest

Cultural Studies, Media Studies, Media Literacy, Visual Literature, Graphic novels, documentary photography, socially aware fine art photography, video installation, Photojournalism and the aesthetics of atrocity

585-475-6925

Currently Teaching

DHSS-488
3 Credits
A critical examination/practicum in an area of digital humanities not covered in other digital humanities and social sciences courses. Counts as a program elective for the DHSS degree program, and may be taken as a general education elective if approved by the general education committee.
ENGL-150
3 Credits
This First Year Writing Intensive course is designed to develop first-year students’ proficiency in analytical writing, rhetorical reading, and critical thinking by focusing on particular uses of narrative. Students will read, understand, and interpret a variety of texts representing different cultural perspectives and/or academic disciplines. Increasingly, scholars, artists, public figures and other professionals recognize the value of using stories across genres to inform analytical practice. Students will gain informed practice in using narrative in different disciplines, and become aware of storytelling as one among a number of rhetorical strategies for inquiry. Students will be expected to give presentations as well as write papers both in response to the reading material and in services of their own independent arguments.
ENGL-210
3 Credits
In this course, students will study literature, movements, and writers within their cultural contexts and in relation to modes of literary production and circulation. Students will hone their skills as attentive readers and will engage with literary analysis and cultural criticism. The class will incorporate various literary, cultural, and interdisciplinary theories--such as psychoanalytic theory, feminist and queer theories, critical race studies, and postcolonial theory. Using these theoretical frameworks in order to study texts, students will gain a strong foundation for analyzing the ways literary language functions and exploring the interrelations among literature, culture, and history. In doing so, they will engage issues involving culture, identity, language, ethics, race, gender, class, and globalism, among many others.
ENGL-211
3 Credits
Introduction to Creative Writing is designed to guide students into the craft of creative nonfiction and fiction prose or poetry. The primary goal is to experiment with various forms of creative writing and to produce at least one polished work. The course uses peer feedback and workshops in the development of creative writing projects.
ENGL-314
3 Credits
Graphic novels demonstrate a concern for constructed narrative within a visual structure, character development, and plot strategies. Graphic memoirs, or auto-graphic novels, tell true tales of human experiences and global events, exploring the boundaries between fact and fiction, public and private, interior and exterior, visual and textual, seen and unseen, traumatic pasts and their futures. Graphic memoirs are interested in how these distinctions, and the questions of individual and collective truth, transparency, and communicability they open onto, help to delineate ethical behavior and belief systems. Holding a mirror up to the multiple ways in which contemporary cultures frame and reframe individual and collective experience, graphic memoirs render their subjects’ and cultures’ ethical premises and guidelines explicit, and, therefore, enable readers to revisit, rethink, and redraw accepted ways of behaving, understanding, and circulating. Texts used in this course will be explored through this lens. We will focus on the ethical considerations and concerns conveyed in and by graphic memoirs in order to uncover unique forms of book-length sequential art, as well as enhance critical thinking about ethics and media literacy skills. Designated as writing intensive, this course emphasizes writing practices, recognizing the role writing plays in the formation of knowledge, and the framing of a specific academic specialization, as well as genre.
ENGL-390
3 Credits
This course is for students who want to explore the techniques of a single genre of creative writing and add to their skills as a creative writer. Through reading and discussion, students will see their own writing in a larger context. Reading/reflection and writing/revision will be emphasized all semester. The focus will be on the creation of creative works and the learning of stylistic and craft techniques. Ongoing work will be discussed with peer editors, which will not only help students rethink their work but teach them to become better editors. Group critiques will provide the opportunity to give and receive helpful feedback. Each class will rely extensively on the creative writing workshop model, and will focus on a specific genre of print-based creative writing. The course may be taken up to three times for a total of 9 credit hours, as long as the topics are different.
ENGL-599
1 - 6 Credits
A program of study executed by an individual student with assistance and guidance by an instructor, outside a regular classroom setting. Guidelines for designing and gaining approval for an independent study are provided in College of Liberal Arts Policy I.D.
ITDL-151H
3 Credits
This honors seminar is a foundational course that examines how our social worlds are linked to our natural and built worlds. The corresponding emphasis on inquiry, analysis, and interpretation facilitates student-engaged learning. In exploring pertinent place and space related issues/topics through an experiential, active, and site-specific curricular focused learning, various aspects of the human condition are discovered. The theme or topic of this honors seminar, as chosen by the instructor, is announced in the subtitle as well as course notes and is developed in the syllabus. The honors seminar integrates the required Year One curriculum.
ITDL-415
1 - 3 Credits
This is an intensive, hands-on workshop introducing students to a specialized technology or mode of storytelling (ASL poetry, photojournalism, graphic narratives, digital literature, XR storytelling, memoir, etc.), and or context for storytelling (health care, science communication, engineering, translation studies, k-12 education, corporate leadership,etc.). Students will learn about a particular genre, technology, or context for storytelling, exploring its creative potential and social, cultural, and artistic meaning and potential applications through hands-on work with an expert instructor. It provides an opportunity for students to study emerging or influential modes of story – fictional and nonfictional – and methods of storytelling such as memoir, photojournalism, scientific communciation, VR storytelling, among potential workshop foci. Through collaborative activities, students will put their newly acquired story skills to practice with a small group of peers and with instructor guidance and feedback. The workshop is designed for students interested in exploring these areas at every stage, from those interested in a focused introduction, to those interested in adding work to their professional portfolio.
WGST-383
3 Credits
This course investigates visual culture and its imagistic response to life's crises. Problems of identity and identification will be explored and confronted through works of photography, painting, mixed media, new media and film of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Beginning with the late 19th Century vogue for images of hysterical women, crippled black-sheep family members and dead loved ones (as corpses and as ghosts), we then move on to consider the last century's fascination with pain and suffering, disease and violence, struggle and survival and then the 21st century's emphasis on terrorism. Specifically, we will focus on the gendering of images and imaging as disturbing pictures work to defy the formal and theoretical distinction between private and public, personal, and collective experience and manage the often conflicting responsibilities to self, family, religion, race, nation, and society.