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Publications in VIVO

Auvinen, Dr. Karen

Senior Instructor


Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • Dr. Auvinen's research is focused on the cultural context of films and the ideas about gender, class, race, ethnicity, sexuality that films circulate. Most recently, she has extended her study to popular culture forms in order to investigate what these artifact reflect about individual and societal ideology and values in addition to developing a class on narrative forms geared toward the first year experience. Additionally, she is interested in the idea of place not only as a geographic narrative, but as a personal, social, ethnic, psychological, sexual, and gendered narrative in literature and film. However, her primary work is creative. Her memoir, Rough Beauty: Forty Seasons of Mountain Living, was published by Scribner in June, 2018 and has been translated into Russian. A collection of short stories about outliers in the West is forthcoming and she is also engaged in a research project about the life of her great Aunt who was institutionalized in 1933.


  • storytelling, pop culture, cultural studies, gender studies, film studies, film analysis, media studies, american literature, native american literature, ethnic american literature, literature of the american west, women's literature, literary analysis, creative writing - poetry, fiction, nonfiction



courses taught

  • FYSM 1000 - First Year Seminar
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018 / Fall 2020
    Provide first year students with an immersive experience in an interdisciplinary topic that addresses current issues including social, technical and global topics. Taught by faculty from across campus, the course provides students with an opportunity to interact in small classes, have project based learning experiences and gain valuable communication skills. Seminar style classes focused on discussion and projects.
  • FYSM 1100 - First Year Interest Group Seminar
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019
    Creates a First Year Interest Group by linking a small first-year seminar with an existing introductory course on a related topic. Each seminar section will be linked to a different course and students in that FYSM 1100 section must be registered for that course. There will be a different co-requisite course for each seminar section.
  • HUMN 2100 - Arts, Culture and Media
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Spring 2019 / Fall 2019 / Spring 2020 / Fall 2020 / Spring 2021 / Fall 2021 / Spring 2022 / Fall 2022 / Spring 2023 / Fall 2023
    Promotes a better understanding of fundamental aesthetic and cultural issues by exploring competing definitions of art and culture. Sharpens critical and analytical abilities by asking students to read and compare different theories about arts, culture, media, and identity, and then to apply and assess those theories in relation to a selection of visual and verbal texts from a range of cultural and linguistic traditions.
  • LIBB 1600 - Gender and Film
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Fall 2018 / Fall 2019 / Fall 2021 / Fall 2022 / Spring 2023 / Fall 2023 / Spring 2024
    Explores a wide variety of cinematic forms and styles and discusses the treatment of femininity, masculinity, sexuality, and how gender is represented as an artifact of mass culture. Although the course title privileges issues of gender, the course also includes the study of issues of race and ethnicity in film and the inherent connections between the cinematic representations of race and gender.
  • LIBB 2013 - Film and the Quest for Truth
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Fall 2018 / Fall 2020 / Spring 2022
    Concerns the subjectivity and relativity of truth. Focuses on how and why we pursue (or fail to pursue) the truths about ourselves and about the people and events around us, and how and why such truths are often elusive, fragmentary, and impermanent.
  • LIBB 2510 - Special Topics in Libby Residential Academic Program
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2019 / Spring 2020
    Introduces timely subjects in the visual and performing arts that cannot be offered on a regular basis. Information concerning the seminar topics offered in any given semester is available prior to registration from the Libby RAP. May be repeated up to 7 total credit hours.

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