Associate Professor of History
On Sabbatical 2019-2020
Karen Leroux teaches US history, specializing in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Her courses tend to explore how gender, race, and class shaped and were shaped by developments in the past. She also teaches the modern world history sequence at Drake.
Understanding women, work, and education in the American past has been the focus of much of Leroux’s research. This work has been published in the History of Education Quarterly, the Journal of Women’s History, and several other venues. In recent years, teaching modern world history at Drake influenced Leroux to reconsider her subjects in transnational frameworks, leading her to explore education in foreign and domestic policy, and, most recently, North American teachers’ migrations and their lives and work overseas. This new work on migration has been published in International Labor and Working-Class History.
Leroux earned a B.A. at Northwestern University, a M.A. at the University of British Columbia, and a Ph.D. at Northwestern University. She has been at Drake since 2005, and was honored with the Arts & Sciences Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award in 2009.
Leroux was born in Canada, and spent every nearly summer of her childhood on her grandparents’ dairy farm in Nova Scotia, but she has lived most of her life in U.S. cities. As a young adult, she moved around the U.S. and Canada, and enjoyed a couple of years working in Australia. Since then, she has gravitated to the Midwest, making her home in the Chicago area and now Des Moines. She still travels frequently, does yoga regularly, and spends whatever time she has left trying to fix up a 1900-era house.