Karen Osborne

Karen Osborne - Columbia College Chicago

Karen Osborne




Karen Lee Osborne has taught at Columbia College since 1987 and was named Teacher of the Year for 1996. She earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Denver. She enjoys teaching courses ranging from first-year writing through graduate literature seminars, and has developed many additions to the curriculum. A few of these are Literature and Visual Culture, graduate seminars on Emily Dickinson and on Native American Literature, The Literature of HIV:AIDS: Community Engagement, and Writing and Rhetoric II: Creating Queer Communities.

Karen's novels include Carlyle Simpson, (Academy Chicago, 1986), winner of the Friends of American Writers Award and the Chicago Foundation for Literature Award, and Hawkwings (Third Side Press, 1991). She edited The Country of Herself: Short Fiction by Chicago Women (Third Side, 1993), and co-edited, with William Spurlin, Reclaiming the Heartland: Lesbian and Gay Voices from the Midwest (University of Minnesota Press, 1996). Her chapbook Survival was published in 1998. Her story "Getting What You Came for" was the basis for A Common Flower, a 1992 film by Doreen Bartoni (Film/Video Department) that has been screened at film festivals in the U.S. and abroad. Her essays, articles, fiction, creative nonfiction and reviews have appeared in numerous journals and collections, and she has presented many papers at conferences such as the Modern Language Association (MLA) convention. Much of her critical work draws on African, African-American, queer, feminist, postcolonial, and Native American theorists such as Frantz Fanon, Judith Butler, and Devon Mihesuah. Her work often explores intersecting and fluid subjectivities. During 1985-86 she was a Fulbright lecturer in American Literature in the Republic of Georgia. She has also served in several administrative capacities within the department and developed websites for the department and various programs featuring student creative work throughout the 1990s.

Instructional Areas

American fiction, poetry and drama, Native American Literature, Literature and Visual Culture, Literature of HIV/AIDS: Community Engagement, Dickinson Seminar, African Literature, Introduction to Poetry, Introduction to Fiction, Introduction to Drama, Southern Women Writers, Queer Literature, Writing and Rhetoric

Creative Practice and Research Interests

Native American literature and theory, queer literature and theory, Dickinson studies, postmodern narratives, pedagogical issues


Bachelor of Science in Journalism, Journalism University of Florida 1975
M.A., University of Denver 1977
Ph.D., University of Denver 1981