Alissa G. Karl

Alissa G. Karl

Statewide Vice President for Academics

Alissa G. Karl of Rochester, NY is an associate professor of English at SUNY Brockport and took office as UUP’s Vice President for Academics in August 2021. Before she became Statewide VPA, Karl was Brockport Chapter President (2019-21) and a member of UUP’s Statewide Executive Board (2020-21).

A native of Sacramento, Calif., Karl was raised in a public employee union household. A first-generation college student from a working-class family, she has experienced firsthand how the public sector and organized labor are essential for all people to lead dignified lives.

Karl’s path as a scholar and teacher has always included labor activism within higher ed. She became involved in the labor movement in 1999, when she joined the organizing committee for teaching and research assistants at the University of Washington—a union drive that successfully established United Auto Workers Local 4121. During that yearslong fight for union recognition and a contract, she also worked on various organizing campaigns around the country with the UAW.

Karl began her career at SUNY in 2007 as an assistant professor in Brockport’s English Department and was promoted to associate professor in 2014. As she was earning tenure and promotion, Karl confronted the struggles that SUNY workers face with inadequate family and parental leave provisions on our campuses–an area in which UUP has since made great strides through the bargaining process.

Karl is a specialist in modern and contemporary Anglophone literature; most recently, her work has focused on labor politics and economic imaginaries in contemporary literature and culture. She is author of Modernism and the Marketplace: Literary Culture and Consumer Capitalism in Rhys, Woolf, Stein and Nella Larsen (Routledge, 2009) and co-editor of the collections Neoliberalism and the Novel (Routledge, 2015) and Rereading Empathy (Bloomsbury, 2022). Her articles and book chapters have appeared in a variety of academic and public-facing venues.

Karl holds a BA in English from George Washington University (1998), an MA in English from the University of Manchester (UK, 1999), and a Ph.D. in English Language and Literature from the University of Washington at Seattle (2005).

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