BA, Anthropology, 1996, Davidson College, NC; MA, Anthropology, 1998, and PhD, Cultural and Social Anthropology, 2005, Stanford University, CA. 

Personal Statement

Karen Morris is a cultural anthropologist whose ethnographic research focuses on the role of family, gender, and media consumption within popular political culture in the United States and West Africa. Her current project, Two Moms: An Ethnography of Lesbian Family and Parenthood in the United States, investigates the popular queering of family and childhood in the United States through fieldwork among several generations of lesbian mothers in the greater Chicago area. Conducted in sites ranging from breakfast clubs and LGBT family retreats, to family law courtrooms and neighborhood school parent-teacher organizations, the research aims to decenter marriage and conception within public discourse around GLBT-headed families and push our analysis toward public media engagement, urban place-making; and politics of gender, race, and class.

Karen’s long-term research has analyzed how transnational families and news media circulation shape the political culture of Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa. Her book, Multifocal Nation: Ivoirian Political Culture in the United States and Côte d’Ivoire (University of Chicago Press) is forthcoming. Additional publications include “Avoiding Vagabond Nationality: The Emergence of Ivoirité in 1990s Côte d’Ivoire” in Crossing Boundaries: Ethnicity, Race, and National Belonging in a Transnational World (Lexington Books 2013) and “Diasporic Politics, Media Circulation, and the Multifocality of Côte d’Ivoire” in City and Society (2012 v. 24 n. 2, American Anthropological Association). She has been invited to speak about her research in a variety of venues including The Library of Congress’ African and Middle Eastern Division; The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art; Northwestern University’s Program for African Studies; The University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana’s Center for African Studies; The University of Chicago African Studies Workshop; and The African Studies Association Annual Meeting.

At SAIC, Karen’s courses include Anthropology of Childhood, Ethnography, In Search of Africa, Cultural Anthropology, Traveling Cultures (Anthropology of Migration, Diaspora, Tourism, Transnationalism), Mass Media and Globalization, and Undergraduate Thesis I & II. She also co-leads, with Professor Cathy Moon in Art Therapy, a biennial study abroad trip for SAIC graduate and undergraduate students to Tanzania (Tanzania: Cross-Cultural Collaboration and Exchange).


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