Karen Sotiropoulos, PhD
 Title: Associate Professor
 Dept: History
 Office: RT 1328
 Phone: 216-687-3940
 Email: K.SOTIROPOULOS@csuohio.edu
 Address: 2121 Euclid Ave. RT 1328, Cleveland, OH 44115

Courses Taught

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Ph.D., City University of New York
Brief Bio:
Karen Sotiropoulos specializes in African American, African Diaspora, and American Cultural History and earned her Ph.D. from the City University of New York where she also taught American History at the CUNY colleges before arriving at CSU in 2000. She lives in Cleveland Heights with her son Lanell and their dog Shea.

Her most recent publication is Town of God: Ota Benga, the Batetela Boys and the Promise of Black America in the Journal of World History, March 2015. She also published the articles Open Adoption and the Politics of Transnational Feminist Human Rights and Over the Rainbow: African American Stage Artists and Dreams of Home. The first essay appears in the Spring 08 issue of the Radical History Review (http://chnm.gmu.edu/rhr/rhr.htm) that she co-edited with Rhonda Y. Williams, Professor of History at Case Western Reserve University. The second article is a chapter in the book Africa and its Diaspora: History, Memory and Literary Manifestations (Africa World Press, 2008) edited by Naana Opoku-Agyemang, Paul E. Lovejoy and David V. Trotman. More recently, she co-edited an issue of the Radical History Review -- Haitian Lives/Global Perspectives, Winter 2013.

Her book, Staging Race: Black Performers in Turn of the Century America, (Harvard University Press, 2006) was released in paperback in Spring 2008. "Our Hokum Hooked Them" is an easily accessible online essay drawn from her book published with PBS as part of the Ken Burns series, JAZZ: A History of America's Music. http://www.pbs.org/jazz/exchange/exchange_minstrel.htm

She has made numerous presentations nationally and internationally discussing her work at such venues as the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, the National Association for Ethnic Studies, the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History, and the University of Cape Coast in Ghana. She has also made several presentations at CSU and in greater Cleveland including ones at local universities, high schools and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. With Lisa Brock and Robin D. G. Kelley, she co-edited the 2003 collection, Transnational Black Studies, both published with the Radical History Review. She is on the editorial board of this peer-reviewed journal published three times a year by Duke University Press.

Her teaching repertoire includes survey courses in African American history, the upper level courses Black America and Africa, Black Resistance in the Age of Jim Crow, and The Black World and the Cold War, as well as the Graduate Readings Course in Black History and the Introduction to Graduate Study in History.

Her current research project explores the experiences of continental Africans who have studied in the United States (from John Chilembwe to Barack Obama, Sr.) to better understand the relationship between modernity and racial nationalism in the 20th Century Black Atlantic.
Research Interests:
African American History, African Diaspora History, Atlantic World History, American Cultural History, Gender and Feminist History
Teaching Areas:

(T/Th 10-11:15)
The main purpose of this survey course is to gain a deeper understanding of the meaning of FREEDOM by analyzing the historical experiences of African Americans from Reconstruction to the present. We will examine such topics as:  Reconstruction and the formation of post-emancipation communities, the origins of legal segregation and white supremacy, migration from South to North, political activism, intellectual and cultural production, African Americans and the labor movement, the modern civil rights movement, and the historical context to understanding the Obama presidency.

HIS 318/518: Black America and Africa
(T/Th 2-3:15)
This course explores how African Americans' relationships with Africa have changed over time from the throes of the Atlantic trade in African human beings to the paternal lineage of President Obama. We will consider the way that black Americans have imagined home and nation by looking toward the continent and continental Africans and we will explore how these linkages have figured historically in the making of "African American" and "black" identities. We will investigate the transformation of African identities in the New World, the formation and transformation of racial nationalism, and the connection between the U.S.-based freedom movement and African struggles for independence.

(T/Th 10-11:15)

HIS 325/525: Black America Since 1945
(T/Th 2-3:15)
While historians have well detailed the relationship between domestic racism and social Darwinism that underlay the formation of western empires at the turn of the twentieth century, they are only now beginning to ask similar questions about the Cold War -- a time when black and brown peoples around the world won independence from colonial rulers, and African Americans mobilized what was arguably the greatest grassroots movement in US history. To be sure, victory was not nearly realized even while indigenous Africans led African nations and African Americans saw some advancement.  This course interrogates the global connections of black freedom struggles to assess how the Cold War shaped post-WWII black American life and politics. Drawing on some recent scholarship, we will consider how race mattered domestically and internationally, looking at how non-white peoples interacted across national borders in a world defined by US and Soviet wars for global domination.