Stetson University

Karen Kaivola

Professor of English and Associate Provost for Faculty Development

Karen Kaivola's interests focus on 20th-century literatures, modernism and modernity, social justice, and literary theory. Virginia Woolf's novels have sustained her scholarly research and writing for more than a decade. While she teaches Woolf when she can, she also enjoys teaching a range of courses, from theory to Jane Austen to interdisciplinary modernism to first-year and junior seminars (for both majors and non-majors) on such topics as human rights or controversial books.

At Stetson, Kaivola has balanced teaching and research with various administrative posts: she has directed the women and gender studies program and served as the University's adviser on gender equity; she has served as associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. In 2009, she was appointed associate provost for faculty development. Since 1999, she has held the J. Ollie Edmunds Chair, an honor recognizing excellence in teaching and scholarship together with contributions to the Stetson University community.


  • Ph.D., English literature, University of Washington, 1989
  • A.B., English literature, Georgetown University, 1979

Course Topics

  • Virginia Woolf
  • Gender, Tradition, and Human Rights
  • Text-Criticism-Theory
  • Modernism/Modernity
  • Writers on Trial: When Books Offend

Research Interests

  • Virginia Woolf
  • Interdisciplinary modernism
  • Gender/sexuality studies
  • Human rights


  • "Revisiting the Ramsays: Love, Alterity, and Ethical Relation in Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse." Forthcoming in Literature, Interpretation, Theory. 
  • "Revisiting Woolf's Representations of Androgyny: Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Nation." Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, 1999.
  • "The `Beast Turning Human': Constructions of the `Primitive' in Nightwood." The Review of Contemporary Fiction, 1993.
  • "All Contraries Confounded: The Lyrical Fiction of Virginia Woolf, Djuna Barnes, and Marguerite Duras." Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1991.

Karen Kairvola

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