Karen Cherewatuk is interested in the intersection of medieval culture, history, and literature. Karen earned her BA at the State University of New York at Albany and her MA and PhD at Cornell University before coming to St. Olaf in 1986 to teach Old and Middle English, Arthurian literature, Chaucer, and medieval women writers. She has deeply enjoyed team-teaching in the Great Conversation Program and has served as its director. Karen has led the interim course English 212, “Literature of the Eastern Caribbean” seven times and with Professor Mary Titus Global Semester in 2014-15.

Karen takes deep pride in the accomplishments of her first husband, St. Olaf Professor and Miltonist Richard J. DuRocher, who died of cancer in 2010, and daughter Mary Clare DuRocher, who graduated from St. Olaf in 2016. In 2015 Karen married Bob Thacker, a leader in marketing and retail.

Karen has published articles on Middle English romance, the Latin poetry and vitae of women saints, Malory, and 15th-century book culture. Her books include Dear Sister: Medieval Women and the Epistolary Genre, Marriage, Adultery, and Inheritance in Malory’s Morte Darthur, and the Arthurian Way of Death. She is currently working on a project for scholars on grief in Malory and two projects for general audiences: a book on the epic and grief based on her 2016 Melby lecture, titled “The Tears of Things;” and with husband Bob a story on working with Michael Graves’ Architecture to create a purposefully replicable middle class home of “universal design” (that is, space works for people of physical abilities), tentatively titled “Building the Forever Home.”