My CV

Karen Gaffney

Education

  • PhD, English, University of Delaware, May 2003
  • Dissertation: “Narrating Difference: Contemporary American Women Writers v. Critical Race Theorists.” This dissertation employs critical race theory to analyze multiple intersections of difference within the novels of Joyce Carol Oates, Dorothy Allison, Amy Tan, Julia Alvarez, and Toni Morrison. Director: Alvina Quintana
  • MA, English, University of Delaware, 1998
  • BA with Honors, College of Letters, Wesleyan University, 1994
  • Thesis: “The Haunted Female Artist: Joyce Carol Oates and the Unconscious”

Work Experience

  • Professor, English Department, Raritan Valley Community College, NJ, 2014-present
  • Chair, English Department, Raritan Valley Community College, 2011-2014
  • Associate Professor, English Department, Raritan Valley Community College, 2010-2014
  • Assistant Professor, English Department, Raritan Valley Community College, 2006-2010
  • Instructor, English Department, Raritan Valley Community College, 2003-2006
  • Adjunct Instructor, English Department, Lincoln University, PA, 2002-2003

Publications

Courses Taught

Raritan Valley Community College, NJ

  • English Composition I with Workshop ◦ English Composition I and II
  • Global Patterns of Racism ◦ Race in American Literature and Popular Culture
  • Women in Literature ◦ Introduction to Women and Gender Studies
  • American Literature: Colonial through the Civil War ◦ Post-Civil War to the Present
  • Introduction to Literature ◦ Introduction to Literary Theory and Criticism

English Department, Lincoln University, PA

  • Composition I

University of Delaware, DE

  • Critical Reading and Writing ◦ Expository Writing
  • Introduction to Women’s Studies ◦ Introduction to Feminist Theory
  • Women Writers ◦ Women and Violence
  • Approaches to Literature ◦ Texts and Contexts
  • American Literature: to the Civil War ◦ Civil War to WW2

Conference Presentations

  • “Pedagogies of Dissent in Three Locations: Teaching Race in the Community College, the Community, and in Prison.” American Studies Association, Chicago, November 2017. (accepted)
  • “Never Woke Enough: Talking to White People about White Supremacy.” Netroots Nation, Atlanta, August 2017. (accepted)
  • “I Won’t Be Silent: Speaking out against White Supremacy in Private and Public Conversations.” Co-presenter. The White Privilege Conference, Kansas City, April 2017.
  • “Moving Beyond Colorblindness and White Guilt: Teaching a Community College Course on Race in the Age of #BlackLivesMatter.” Modern Language Association, Philadelphia, January 2017.
  • “Moving Beyond White Guilt: How to Talk to Whites About Systemic Racism.” Netroots Nation, St. Louis, July 2016.
  • “Tipping Points in Recognizing Injustice: Reading The New Jim Crow at a Community College, a Prison, and a Church.” How Class Works Conference, Center for Study of Working Class Life, State University of New York, Stony Brook, June 2016.
  • “‘When the Curtain Falls, Community Action Begins’: Dismantling White Supremacy through Theatre and Community Action in the Age of The New Jim Crow.” Co-presenter. The White Privilege Conference. Philadelphia, April 2016.
  • “Critical Race Theory in Action: Talking to White People About ‘the Permanence of Racism’.” Race (In)Action: 2016 Critical Race Theory Conference at Yale, Yale Law School, April 2016.
  • “Scandal in the Age of The New Jim Crow.” Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association, Seattle, March 2016.
  • “‘But Poor People Don’t Live Here’: What Does it Mean to Teach Inequality at a Community College in Two of the Top Ten Richest American Counties (says Forbes)?” Fighting Inequality, Joint Conference of the Labor and Working-Class History Association and the Working-Class Studies Association. Georgetown University, Washington DC, May 2015.
  • “Whiteness as Trespassed Property: Uniting Cheryl Harris and Novelist Joyce Carol Oates in Challenging the Status Quo.” Critical Race Studies Seventh Annual Symposium. “Whiteness as Property”: A Twenty Year Appraisal. UCLA Law School, October 2014.
  • “Through the Lens of Social Class: Teaching Students in Poverty and Teaching Students About Poverty.” Co-presenter. How Class Works Conference, Center for Study of Working Class Life, State University of New York, Stony Brook, June 2014.
  • “Empowering Community College Students through a Social Action Assignment.” Two Year College English Association Northeast (TYCA-NE), Morristown, NJ, October 2013.
  • “Using Pop Culture in the Composition Classroom at Raritan Valley Community College.” Co-presenter. New Jersey Writing Alliance, Middlesex County College, May 2013.
  • “Supporting Sixty: Challenges and Best Practices for Adjuncts.” Co-presenter. Faculty of the Future, Bucks County Community College, June 2012.
  • “Navigating the Gender Box: Locating Masculinity in the Introduction to Women and Gender Studies Course.” Mid-Atlantic Women’s Studies Association, The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ, April 2010.
  • “You Can Take it with You: Transforming Teaching and Encouraging Social Action in the Intro Course.” Co-presenter. Mid-Atlantic Women’s Studies Association Conference, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, March 2009.
  • “Making Masculinity Visible: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack in the Intro Course.” Co-presenter. Mid-Atlantic Women’s Studies Conference, Abington, PA, March 2008.
  • “Men’s Studies is from Mars, Women’s Studies is from Venus, But Not if We Can Help It: Bridging the Gap in the Intro. Course.” Co-presenter. Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association, Boston, April 2007.
  • “‘The Others Are Coming’: Navigating Race in TV’s Lost.” Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States, Boca Raton, Florida, April 2006.
  • “From The Joy Luck Club to Better Luck Tomorrow: Negotiating the Construction of Asian Americans as the Model Minority.” Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association, Atlanta, April 2006.
  • “Whiteness Haunted: Joyce Carol Oates’ Bellefleur and Critical Race Theory.” Northeast Modern Language Association, Philadelphia, March 2006.
  • “Critical Race Theorists as Storytellers: Why Aren’t We Listening?” Community College Humanities Association, Boston, November 2005.
  • “Remaking The Stepford Wives in the Age of The Swan: Beauty, Women, and Power.” Women & Society Conference, Marist College, September 2005.
  • “Dancing in the Dark: Reading Race in Contemporary Dance Films.” Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States, Chicago, April 2005.
  • “Toni Morrison and Derrick Bell: ‘We Have Made Progress in Everything Yet Nothing Has Changed.’” American Women Writers of Color Conference, Baltimore, November 2004.
  • “Bringing Down the (Master’s) House?” Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States, San Antonio, Texas, March 2004.
  • “Creating ‘White Trash’: The Family Studies of the Eugenics Movement.” Mid-Atlantic Popular Culture/American Culture Association Conference, Wilmington, Delaware, November 2003.
  • “Searching for Home-Place: Intersecting Identities in Danzy Senna’s Caucasia.” Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States, Boca Raton, Florida, April 2003.
  • “Resisting White Privilege: Interracial and Interclass Friendship in Dorothy Allison’s Cavedweller.” Northeast Modern Language Association, Boston, March 2003.
  • “Teaching Women Writers in the Women’s Studies Classroom.” Mid-Atlantic Women’s Studies Association Conference, Philadelphia Community College, February 2003.
  • “Teaching Julia Alvarez’s ¡Yo!” Middle Atlantic Latin American Studies Conference, University of Delaware, March 2002.
  • “Asian American Critical Race Theory: An Intervention in The Joy Luck Club Debate.” American Women Writers of Color Conference, Ocean City, Maryland, October 2001.
  • “In Dialogue: Feminist Theory, Critical Race Theory, and Literary Studies.” Critical Theory & Race: Contesting the Racial Contract, Purdue University, March 2001.
  • “Women’s Studies Meets Whiteness Studies.” Mid-Atlantic Women’s Studies Association Conference, University of Delaware, February 2001.
  • “The Portrait of the Artist as a Black Woman: The Artist Characters of Ntozake Shange and Sapphire.” American Women Writers of Color Conference, Ocean City, Maryland, October 1999.
  • “‘Excavated from the Inside’: Whiteness, White Trash, and Dorothy Allison’s Cavedweller,” Northeast Modern Language Association, Pittsburgh, April 1999.

Ongoing Community Workshops

  • “Understanding Racism in the US and Working toward Racial Justice.” Community Course (free and open to the public) The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Somerset Hills, Somerville, NJ. October 2016 – April 2017 (one meeting per month).

Selected Presentations

  • “Never Woke Enough.” Hunterdon County Anti-Racism Coalition, Flemington, NJ, July 2017.
  • “What Most People Don’t Understand about Race.” American Association of University Women, Northampton Community College, June 2017.
  • “Strategies for Navigating Thanksgiving After the Election.” Lambertville Community Anti-Bias Workshop Series, Lambertville, NJ, November 2016.
  • “What is Race and Systemic Racism? A Sourlands Perspective.” Train Station Series, Sourland Conservancy, Hopewell, NJ, November 2016.
  • “Strengthening the ‘We’ in NORWESCAP: A Conversation about Race in the Workplace.” Facilitator. Annual Staff Training, Northwest NJ Community Action Program (NORWESCAP), RVCC, October 2016.
  • “Moving Beyond Colorblindness and White Guilt: Understanding Systemic Racism in the Age of #BlackLivesMatter.” Summer School of Addiction Studies, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, July 2016.
  • Keynote Address for “The Unfinished Business of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” 11th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration, Saratoga Springs, NY, January 2016.
  • “The Social Construction of Race, Systemic Racism, and Health Disparities.” Summer School of Addiction Studies, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, July 2015.
  • Keynote Address on Equality: “Myths, Inequality, and Action.” Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society Induction Ceremony, RVCC, April 2015.
  • Community Conversation about the “White History Month” sign in Flemington. Panelist. Hunterdon County Anti-Racism Coalition, Whitehouse Station, NJ, March 2015.
  • “What is race? Why was it invented? Why is colorblindness a problem today?” Hunterdon County (NJ) Anti-Racism Coalition, January 2015.
  • “What Is Race, and Why Was It Invented?” Workshop for the members of META Theatre Company, June 2014.
  • “Rednecks, Asian Overachievers, and Illegals: How American Culture Divides and Conquers.” Spotlight on Scholarship, RVCC and V-Day Festival, META Theatre Company, Flemington, NJ, April 2014.
  • “Buck v. Bell.” Visualizing Civil Rights: The Supreme Court & Reproductive Rights, RVCC, March 2014.
  • “Building the Village to Sustain and Graduate Under-resourced Students.” Co-presenter. RVCC, March 2014.
  • “Are Rednecks the Last Racists?” Paul Robeson Educators Seminar, RVCC, February 2014.
  • “An Overview of the Democratic Party’s Platform on Economic Policies.” The 2012 Campaign: A Panel Discussion, Democratic and Republican Economic Policies, RVCC, October 2013.
  • “The Protest Against Income Inequality.” The Occupy Movement: An Appraisal, RVCC, April 2012.
  • “Divide and Conquer: How American Popular Culture, the Media and Politics Pit Races against Each Other.” Spotlight on Scholarship, RVCC, April 2011.
  • “Confronting Injustice, Making a Difference.” RVCC Summer Institute on Social Justice, June 2008.
  • “The Culture of Race and Racism in the US.” RVCC Summer Institute on Social Justice, June 2007.
  • “Creating ‘White Trash’: The Family Studies of the Eugenics Movement.” Learning Happens at Your Library, Somerset County Library, NJ, March 2006.
  • “‘The Others Are Coming’: Navigating Race in TV’s Lost.” Research on Race, Ethnicity, and Culture Lecture Series, University of Delaware, March 2006.
  • “Remaking The Stepford Wives in the Age of The Swan: Beauty, Women, and Power.” Women’s History Month, Kean University, NJ, March 2006.
  • “Dorothy Allison: Untrashing White Trash.” Research on Women Lecture Series, University of Delaware, October 2001.
  • “Making Whiteness Visible.” Research on Race, Ethnicity, and Culture Lecture Series, University of Delaware, April 2001.

Grants and Honors

  • RVCC Sabbatical, Spring 2016
  • Democracy for America Scholarship Winner, Netroots Nation, July 2014
  • RVCC Faculty Research Grant, 2013-2014 (to design workshops based on book project)
  • RVCC Faculty Research Grant, 2009-2010 (to continue book project)
  • RVCC Social Justice Club
    • Club Advisor of the Year Award, 2009
    • Global Outreach Award, 2007
    • Community Outreach Award, 2006
    • Humanitarian Award, 2005

Selected Professional Service, RVCC

  • Chair, College Forum, Fall 2017-present
  • Member, RVCC Social Action Collective, January 2015-present
  • Co-facilitator, RVCC Beyond the Image Micro-Messaging Project, Spring 2014-Spring 2015
  • English Department Chair, June 2011-June 2014
  • Member, Reducing Barriers, Building Resources Advisory Council, Fall 2013-Spring 2014
  • Member and presenter, Research Writing Group, Fall 2012-present
  • Member, Defend Public Education, Faculty Federation, 2012-2013
  • Faculty Co-Advisor, College Community Empowerment Project Student Alliance (CCEP-SA), Fall 2013-Spring 2014
  • Chair, College Forum, Fall 2009- Spring 2012
  • Participant, LGBTQ Ally training sessions (Fall 2010 and Spring 2011), and Ally
  • Faculty Advisor, Social Justice Club, 2004-2010
  • Committee member, Women and Gender Studies Steering Committee, Fall 2008-present
  • Committee member, Living Wage Coalition, Spring 2006-Spring 2007
  • Committee member, Faculty Federation Negotiation Team, Spring 2007-Fall 2008
  • Faculty Commencement Speaker, December 2004
  • Committee member, Voter Initiative Project, Summer 2004-November 2004

Community Service

  • Central Jersey Community Coalition
    • Steering Committee member (December 2016-present)
  • NORWESCAP (Northwest New Jersey Community Action Partnership)
    • Board of Trustees Member, August 2015-present
  • Hunterdon County (NJ) Anti-Racism Coalition
    • Steering Committee member (December 2014-present)
  • META Theatre Company (social action performance)
    • RVCC Liaison, Fall 2013-present
    • Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women Theatre Program Volunteer, June 2015-January 2017
  •  Somerville, NJ Historical Advisory Board
    • Member, 2010
  • Somerset County, NJ Democratic Organization
    • Campaign Team member, Somerset County Democratic Freeholder Campaign, 2009 election
    • Field Director, Somerset County Democratic Freeholder Campaign, 2008 election
    • Candidate, Hillsborough Township Committee, 2006 election
  • DFA-NJ (Democracy for America)
    • Executive Board Officer, 2008-2010
  • DFA-Somerset (Democracy for America)
    • Co-Organizer, 2007-2010
  • Garden State Equality
    • Volunteer, 2008-2010

Completed Trainings

  • Racial Justice Leadership Institute. Race Forward, Atlanta, GA, November 2016.
  • White Accountability and Organizing. Center for the Study of White American Culture, NY, December 2015.
  • What White People Can Do About Racism, Fundamentals Parts I and II. Center for the Study of White American Culture, NY, February and April 2015.
  • Undoing Racism. People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. Rutgers University, Newark, NJ, October 2014.

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