25. – 28.03.2024 | University of Vienna

Karen Krasny

Karen Krasny

Karen A. Krasny, PhD is Professor of Language and Literacy in the Faculty of Education at York University in Toronto. In 2022-2023, she served as Associate Dean, Academic Programs and Acting Dean in York’s Faculty of Education before embarking on her present sabbatical and a Visiting Scholarship to the University of South-Eastern Norway. She held the position of Associate Dean, Academic in York’s Faculty of Graduate Studies from 2013 to 2015 and as Graduate Program Director in the Faculty of Education in 2012-2013.  Dr. Krasny was the York-Freiburg Exchange Visiting Scholar, Pädagogisch Hochschule Freiburg in 2021 and 2022 and in 2017-2018, she was awarded a year-long York-Massey Visiting Scholarship to Massey College, University of Toronto. She is a Past-President of the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies and served a 2-year appointment on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Society for Studies and Education. Dr. Krasny has a keen interest in book history and print culture and while in Norway, she will continue her archival investigations into the darker side of children’s literature. She is also looking forward to meeting USN students and faculty through a series of scheduled lectures.

In 2002, Dr. Krasny was awarded a Graduate Merit Fellowship and a Regent’s Fellowship from Texas A&M University in support of her doctoral studies and received her PhD in 2004 from TAMU’s College of Education and Human Development. Her research applied theories of embodied cognition to account for how readers rely on the evocation of imagery and affect to construct meaning from literary and multimodal texts. A central thesis in her ongoing work is that the human capacity to store in memory both sensory and semantic experience in the form of mental images that retain some of the concrete qualities that inspired them, allows us to project feelings of interiority upon others, real or imaginary, and that this empathetic recognition that others are in possession of the same sense of self is fundamental our understanding of the important relationship between aesthetics and ethics. Through her teaching and research, Dr. Krasny continues to work to advance a critical understanding of the implications of how we aesthetically engage children and youth with representations of war and genocide.   

In 2008, Dr. Krasny received a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grant to investigate the role of the narrative in constructing Ukrainian post-Soviet national identities. Her fieldwork took her to sites of atrocity throughout Western Ukraine and this experience provided the impetus for a collaboration with YA author Kathy Kacer and three Toronto educators on writing project which engaged hundreds of middle school students in responding to a range of literature and digital media representing the Holocaust. The project culminated in a co-edited volume of student contributions titled We Are Their Voice: Young People Respond to the Holocaust (Kacer, Krasny, Gotlieb, Gordin, & Nesbitt, 2012) released by Second Story Press.

Recently, Dr. Krasny explored postmemory constructions of children of victims and survivors through the architectural archive that occupies the mind of W. G. Sebald’s protagonist in Austerlitz for an edited volume published with Routledge (Strong-Wilson et al, 2023). In addition to her chapter contributions, Dr. Krasny’s articles appear in Review of Educational Research, Canadian Modern Language Review, Journal of Curriculum Studies, Semiotica, Language & Literacy, and Curriculum Inquiry. She is the author of Gender and Literacy: A Handbook for Educators and Parents (Praeger Press, 2013) and of 18 children’s picture books in French (Addison-Wesley, 1991, 1993).