Participant Info

First Name
Karen
Last Name
Marrero
Affiliation
Wayne State University
Website URL
https://clasprofiles.wayne.edu/profile/bx2389
Keywords
Early North American History, Indigenous History, Early Detroit History, Early Midwestern History, Women and Gender History, Indigenous-French History
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

Photo
About Me

I am Associate Professor of early North American history at Wayne State University in Detroit and a transnational historian of the United States and Canada and the northern border.  My work explores interactions between seventeenth, eighteenth, and early nineteenth-century Indigenous peoples and Euro-Americans in the Great Lakes.  My book Detroit’s Hidden Channels: The Power of French-Indigenous Families in the 18th Century (Michigan State University Press, 2020), examines the role of these kinship networks in Detroit’s development as a site of singular political and economic importance in the continental interior. Situated where Anishinaabe, Wendat, Myaamia, and later French communities were established and where the system of waterways linking the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico narrowed, Detroit was viewed by Euro-American imperial powers as a decaying site of illegal activities.  The influence of the French-Indigenous networks, however, grew as members diverted imperial resources to bolster an alternative configuration of power relations that crossed Indigenous and Euro-American nations. Women furthered commerce by navigating a multitude of gender norms of their nations, allowing them to defy the state that sought to control them by holding them to European ideals of womanhood. I have presented at conferences of the American Historical Association, Canadian Historical Association, Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, and Organization of American Historians, among other venues.

Recent Publications

Detroit’s Hidden Channels: The Power of French-Indigenous Families in the Eighteenth Century (Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2020)

“‘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.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
U.S. and Canada
Expertise by Geography
North America, United States
Expertise by Chronology
18th century, 19th century, Early Modern
Expertise by Topic
American Founding Era, Colonialism, Family, Gender, Indigenous Peoples, Local & Regional, Race, Sexuality, Sexual Violence, Women