Karen Karbiener

Clinical Professor of Liberal Studies

Ph.D., Columbia University

Course(s) Taught: Cultural Foundations I, II, & III

Teaching Statement: As a scholar of nineteenth century American literature and culture with a special interest in Walt Whitman and his beloved New York, I am delighted to live and teach in the place that inspires me most (and just happens to be my hometown). I enthusiastically embrace the opportunity to use the city’s rich cultural history and vast, ever-changing resources as part of my students’ learning experience. In “American Outlaw: Walt Whitman’s Radical Cultural Legacy”, my sophomore seminar investigating Whitman’s epoch-shaping ideas of race, gender, politics and art, I take students on guided literary tours and assign projects involving New York City archives and historic sites. Students in my seminar “Art of the Book in America” designed, printed and bound their own books at the Center for Book Arts, a world-class facility in Chelsea. This semester in the “Cultural Foundations” sequence, my students and I viewed and critiqued an exhibition of Michelangelo’s and Vasari’s works at the Morgan Library (to follow up our study of Vasari’s Lives of the Artists) and attended a new production of the “Barber of Seville” at the Metropolitan Opera (to enhance our discussion of Rossini’s libretto and score). We will end the semester with a reading of Whitman’s poem “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” as we cross the Brooklyn Bridge. And thus, in Seneca’s words, “homines dum docent discunt”: I continue to find remarkably fertile ground for my growth as teacher and scholar within—and just outside—the classrooms of NYU.


 Karbiener and students from her seminar American Outlaw: Walt Whitman's Radical Cultural Legacy, on the Brooklyn Bridge.
 Karbiener’s students leading a marathon reading of Howl at the Cedar Tavern, in Greenwich Village.

Updated on 11/08/2016