• Karen Weierman  

    Karen Woods Weierman

    Contact Information
    Office S-304B

    B.A., Georgetown University
    Ph.D., University of Minnesota


    Karen Woods Weierman is Professor of English and the former director of the Commonwealth Honors Program. She holds a B.A. in American Studies from Georgetown University and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Minnesota.

    An avid archival detective, her research interests include nineteenth-century U.S. literature and culture, antislavery literature, and law and literature studies. In her book One Nation, One Blood: Interracial Marriage in American Fiction, Scandal, and Law, 1820-1870 (University of Massachusetts Press, 2005), she explores the taboo against interracial marriage by investigating the traditional link between marriage and property. Her research reveals that the opposition to intermarriage originated in large measure in the nineteenth-century desire for Indian land and African labor.

    Her current project, The Case of the Slave-Child, Med: The Tragedy of Freedom in Antislavery Boston, restores the complicated history of antislavery Boston’s greatest legal victory and most devastating failure. Following a successful freedom suit on her behalf, little Med became a trope, discarded after her test case and forgotten when her death disrupted the triumphalist antislavery narrative.

    Professor Weierman teaches a wide range of courses in American literature, always from an American Studies perspective, and she teaches in face-to-face, online, and hybrid formats. She also teaches first-year writing courses with a particular emphasis on critical thinking, rhetorical strategies, and information literacy.


  • Courses Taught
    EN 105: Introduction to Literature
    EN 169: Ethnic American Literature
    EN 172: Women and Literature
    EN 190: Historical Memory in Fiction and Film
    EN 210: Survey of American Literature I
    EN 211: Survey of American Literature II
    EN 342: American Novel I
    EN 344: American Novel II
    EN 345: American Women Writers
    EN 370/921: Antislavery Literature in the Atlantic World
    EN 450/998: Literatures of Early America

    EN 101: English Composition I
    EN 102: English Composition II
    EN 202: Honors Composition
    EN 250: Creative Thinking and Critical Writing
    The Case of the Slave-Child, Med: The Tragedy of Freedom in Antislavery Boston. Book project in progress. Under contract with the University of Massachusetts Press.

    Review of The Road to Black Ned’s Forge. A Story of Race, Sex, and Trade on the Colonial American Frontier. by Turk McCleskey. Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 141.1 (January 2017): 91-92.

    “‘This Narrative is No Fiction’: Harriet Jacobs in the Archives.” Review of The Harriet Jacobs Family Papers, ed. by Jean Fagan Yellin. Reviews in American History 38 (March 2010): 61-66.

    One Nation, One Blood: Interracial Marriage in American Fiction, Scandal, and Law, 1820-70. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2005.

    “‘A Slave Story I Began and Abandoned’: Sedgwick’s Antislavery Manuscript.” Catharine Maria Sedgwick: Critical Perspectives. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 2003.

    “Reading and Writing Hope Leslie: Catharine Maria Sedgwick’s Indian Connections.” New England Quarterly LXXV.3 (September 2002): 415-43.

    “‘For the Better Government of Servants and Slaves’: The Development of the Law of Slavery and Miscegenation.” Legal Studies Forum XXIV (2000): 133-56.

    Review of Letters from New York, by Lydia Maria Child. Journal of the Early Republic 19.3 (Fall 1999): 557-58.

    “‘A Wicked and Mischievous Connection’: The Origins and Development of Indian-White Miscegenation Law.” Legal Studies Forum XXIII (1999): 37-70.
    Honors and Grants
    Sabbatical leave, The Case of the Slave-Child, Med, Spring 2017.

    Faculty Scholarship Mini-Grant, Using Slavery to Make Slavery History, Worcester State University, 2015-16.

    Group Teaching and Learning Innovation Grant, Innovation, Research, and Engagement: Building the Honors Curriculum, Year Two, Worcester State University, 2015-16.

    Teaching and Learning Innovation Grant, NCHC Food Politics Faculty Institute, Worcester State University, 2015.

    George I. Alden Excellence in Teaching Award, May 18, 2013.

    African American Studies Short-Term Fellowship, Massachusetts Historical Society, November-December 2009.