FaceBook Clio

Author’s Profile

Karen OffenKaren Offen (Ph.D., Stanford University) is a historian and independent scholar, affiliated as a Senior Scholar with the Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research, Stanford University. She publishes on the history of Modern Europe, especially France and its global influence; Western thought and politics with reference to family, gender, and the relative status of women; historiography; women's history; national, regional and global histories of feminism; comparative history, and the politics of knowledge.

In 2010, Karen was elected to the Bureau (Executive Board) of the International Committee for the Historical Sciences/ Comité International des Sciences Historiques (ICHS/CISH), based in Paris.  She is a founder and past secretary-treasurer of the International Federation for Research in Women's History, and is past-president of the Western Association of Women Historians (USA).  She has held fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship for study and research (1995-96), the Rockefeller Foundation (1985-86), and the National Endowment for the Humanities (1980-81). 

She has directed four interdisciplinary NEH Summer Seminars for College Teachers on the "Woman Question," organized around clusters of original historical texts in translation, and co-directed a fifth on “Motherhood and the Nation-State” at Stanford in 2002.  She has taught master classes at the Central European University in Budapest and at the University of Konstanz, in Germany. For eleven years she served on the Board of Directors for the International Museum of Women (San Francisco), where she chaired the Exhibition and Programs Committee.  In May 2004 she received an honorary doctorate in humane letters from her alma mater, the University of Idaho, and in 2005 was honored by the Western Association of Women Historians.  In 2012 Karen was honored by the Society for French Historical Studies (meeting in Los Angeles) as well as by her collegiate fraternity Kappa Kappa Gamma, which presented her with an Alumnae Achievement Award at the national convention (Jacksonville, Florida). She has been listed in Contemporary Authors, Who’s Who of American Women, Who’s Who in the West, and Who’s Who in American Education

Widely published in scholarly reviews in many languages, Karen has also co-edited three volumes of interpretative documentary texts, Victorian Women: A Documentary Account of Women's Lives in Nineteenth-Century England, France, and the United States (1981), and the two-volume Women, the Family, and Freedom: The Debate in Documents, 1750-1950 (1983), both published by Stanford University Press.  Her monograph, Paul de Cassagnac and the Authoritarian Tradition in Nineteenth Century France, appeared in 1991 and is now available as an e-book.  She also co-edited the 1991 volume, Writing Women's History: International Perspectives (with Ruth Roach Pierson and Jane Rendall), on behalf of the International Federation for Research in Women's History.  Karen's latest monograph is European Feminisms, 1700-1950: A Political History (Stanford UP, 2000), which has now appeared in French translation (2012). In addition to many articles and review-essays, she has since published an edited volume, Globalizing Feminisms 1789-1945 (London: Routledge, series Rewriting History, ed. Jack Censer, 2010), and was featured as the Routledge History Author of the Month in March 2010. She is completing a book on the "woman question" debates in France.