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

ENGL-210
3 Credits
Students will study literary and cultural texts selected from traditional literature to contemporary media and culture (including mythology, poetry, plays, novels, film, graphic novels, television, and digital literature). Students will analyze these texts from a variety of perspectives and become familiar with the history of debates about literature and/or culture as arenas of human experience. Individual sections will vary in their foci.
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-211
3 Credits
This course gives students the opportunity to write in different creative genres such as fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. In producing a portfolio, students will learn concrete elements of craft and techniques of improvisation to generate creative work. The course uses readings, peer feedback, workshops, and collaborative brainstorming to develop and refine texts for the printed page and beyond.
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.
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.
ENGL-490
3 Credits
This course is for students who want to explore the techniques of a single genre of creative writing and have already completed a creative writing workshop. Through reading and discussion, they will see their own writing in a larger context, culminating in a substantial body of work ready for publication. 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 can be repeated up to three times, for 9 semester credit hours, as long the topics are different.
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.
FNRT-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.