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Roots of Contemporary Issues RCI

Karen Phoenix

Karen Phoenix specializes in the U.S. in the World during the Progressive Era and interwar period. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2010. Her doctoral work used the U.S. Young Women’s Christian Association as a case study to explore U.S. attempts at cultural imperialism. In case studies that ranged from religion and missions in India, to health education in the Philippines, to architecture and space in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to race-blind feminism in Nigeria, Phoenix examined the ways that USYWCA Secretaries envisioned themselves as being progressive and egalitarian, even as they could not escape their Progressive Era US mindsets. She is currently adding the USYWCA’s efforts to build a type of transnational feminism in post-WWI Poland for the book manuscript. Her article “A Social Gospel for India” was published in a special issue on Transnational Women’s and Gender History in the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, in Spring 2014. Phoenix has presented papers at regional and national conferences such as the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, the American Historical Association, and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.