Karen Renner, PhD

Karen Renner Senior Lecturer
Northern Arizona University
American Literature
Blg 18 Rm #331
Phone: 928-523-6012


Ph.D., University of Connecticut, 2010


My research interests include 19th- and 20th-century American literature and popular culture of all kinds, but I have a special passion for horror. My most recent work combines horror and childhood studies: I edited a collection of essays in 2012 titled The ‘Evil Child’ in Literature, Film and Popular Culture, which was published by Routledge, and I'm currently finishing up a book on the same subject tentatively titled Bad Seeds and Injured Innocents: Evil Children in the Contemporary Imagination, which is under contract with Palgrave. Other recent articles include “The Apocalypse Begins at Home: The Antichrist-as-Child Film,” “Negotiations of Masculinity in American Ghost Hunting Reality Television,” “Millennials, Twenty-First Century Horror, and The Cabin in the Woods," and "Hawthorne’s Pearl: The Origins of Good and Evil in The Scarlet Letter.” 

I try to design classes that challenge students to produce their best writing. Several students have gone on to publish the essays they wrote for my classes: Becca Branstetter's "Scare the Hell Out of Them: Christian Horror in Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker’s House" appeared in Popular Culture Review and David Kingley's "Elm Street's Gothic Roots: Unearthing Incest in Wes Craven's 1984 Nightmare" was published in The Journal of Popular Film and Television. Lately, I've also been exploring how alternatives to the academic essay--such as blogs, podcasts, websites, and animated videos--can facilitate learning while also adding a professional development component to my courses.

In my spare time, I also dabble in photography and creative writing, some of which you can see on my blog at www.allotherprioritiesrescinded.wordpress.com.