Karen Marrero

Karen Marrero

Assistant Professor


313-577-6987 (fax)


 3145 Faculty/Administration Building

Karen Marrero

Karen Marrero teaches courses in early North American and Native American history. Her current book project explores the mechanisms by which seventeenth and eighteenth-century Indigenous and French kin networks exploited Detroit’s status as a “transitional location” and diplomatic center to divert and revalue resources and amass political, economic, and cultural prestige. These families understood what European imperial agents often failed to fully appreciate, namely, that at Detroit, a site at the apex of Iroquoian and Algonquian territories, economic and political matters resonated across the Great Lakes. Marrero also studies the northern border in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries as a site of contestation between Indigenous, French- and British-Canadian, and American peoples.

Research Interest/Area of Expertise

  • Colonial North America

  • Native America and Indigenous Peoples

  •  Early Modern Atlantic world

  •  comparative U.S./Canada

  •  transnational and borderlands history

  •  women and gender

  •  memory, narrative, and the nature of historical truth and authenticity

Education – Degrees, Licenses, Certifications

  • Ph.D., History, Yale University, 2011
  • M.Phil., History, Yale University, 2004
  • M.A., History, Yale University, 2003
  • M.A., History (with Archival Studies concentration), University of Windsor, 2000
  • M.A., English Language and Literature, University of Windsor, 1994
  • B.A., English Language and Literature, University of Windsor, 1988

Awards and Grants

  • National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar fellowship for “Bridging National Borders in North America,” Newberry Library

  •  Earhart Foundation on American History Post-Doctoral Fellowship, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan, 2012

Selected Publications

 "'Borders Thick and Foggy': Mobility, Community, and Nation in a Northern Indigenous Region." In Warring for America: Cultural Contests in the Era of 1812. Eds. Nicole Eustace and Fredrika J. Teute. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017). 419-444.

“Women at the Crossroads: Trade, Mobility, and Power in Early French America and Detroit.” In Women in Early America: Transnational Histories, Rethinking Master Narratives. Ed. Thomas Foster. (New York: New York University Press, 2015). 159-185.

“On the Edge of the West: The Roots and Routes of Detroit’s Urban Eighteenth Century.” In Frontier Cities: Encounters at the Crossroads of Empire. Eds. Jay Gitlin, Barbara Berglund, and Adam Arenson. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013). 66-87.

Currently Teaching

  • HIS 2040 -- American Foundations to the Civil War (3 cr.)

    HIS 5996 -- Junior or Senior Research Seminar (3 cr.)

Courses taught

HIS 5010/7010 -- Readings in Colonial North American History (4 cr.)

HIS 3998/6010 -- Topics in American History: Native American History (3 cr.)

HIS 8010 -- Seminar in Early American History (3 cr.)