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University of Massachusetts Amherst

University of Massachusetts Amherst

W.E.B. Du Bois Department

Karen Y. Morrison, "Kym", Assistant Professor

326 New Africa House


Office Hours:    Wednesdays 2:30-3:30 pm.

                        Thursdays 1:00-2:00 pm



Brief Bio

Karen Y. Morrison, "Kym" earned a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Duke University and worked for a few years in weapon systems design before turning to the study of history. She completed her doctorate at the University of Florida and currently teaches in the areas of African, African Diasporan, and Latin American social histories. Before arriving at UMass she taught at Kenyon College and Moravian College. Her research focuses on the relationship between family formation and racial identity in nineteenth and twentieth-century Cuba. Toward this end, she has traveled extensively throughout the island on several occasions, beginning in 1995. She has published in Cuban Studies/ Estudios Cubanos, the Journal of Social History, and Slavery & Abolition. She currently is completing a book-length study.


A Crucible of Race: Family and Social Identity in 19th and 20th-Century Cuba, book manuscript in development.


“‘Whitening’ Revisited: Cuban Counterpoints,” chapter, in Sherwin Bryant, Rachel O’Toole, and Ben Vinson, eds., The African Diaspora into Latin America: New Directions in Scholarship, University of Illinois Press, forthcoming August 2011.


 “White Fathers and Slave Mothers in Nineteenth-Century Cuba Defining Family and Social Status,” Slavery & Abolition 31 (March 2010): 29-55.


“Cuba: Overview” in Peter N. Stearns, ed. Encyclopedia of the Modern World. Oxford University Press, 2008, a 3,000-words entry.


“Creating an Alternative Kinship: Slavery, Freedom, and Nineteenth-Century Afro-Cuban Hijos NaturalesJournal of Social History (September 2007): 55-80


“Civilization and Citizenship in the Eyes of Afro-Cuban Intellectuals during the First Constitutional Period (1902-1940)” Cuban Studies/ Estudios Cubanos v. 30 (1999): 76-99.