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Dr. Katie B. Garner

Kate B. Garner CONTACT

Today’s question:

What have you had to give up to afford childcare? (Click here to answer)

Brief Biography

Scholar. Teacher. Mother. Wife. These lines blur and intersect in my life as a first-generation woman and scholar, who was raised in Chicago on the margin between working and middle class. My mother quit her job as a secretary shortly into her first pregnancy and my father worked two or more jobs as a house painter to pay our bills.

This upbringing narrowed my focus on the culture and politics shape the roles of mothers (and fathers), labor equality, and childcare. I attended Illinois Wesleyan University for my undergraduate degree and University of Illinois at Chicago for my Masters in English Education and Ph.D in English with a gender studies concentration.

After nearly a decade researching intensive mothering, globalization’s impact on childcare, and the ways class and race impact the mother/nanny relationship, I am determined to shift the conversation regarding these topics with an eye toward building political will and ultimately changing US culture and policy.

While currently the executive director of IAMAS (Int’l Assoc. of Maternal Action and Scholarship), I have been fortunate enough to be an educator at the high school level (Downers Grove South High School) and then as an adjunct at the University of Illinois at Chicago and North Central College. My work with IAMAS offers opportunities to engage with some of the more premier scholars around the world, and their insight and dedication continually shape my work.

My (in-progress) book tentatively titled The Illusion of Choice: How Culture, Ambivalence, and Neoliberalism Prevent Mothers From Being Even Greater Than They Already Are, covers interviews with nearly 100 U.S. women and addresses inequalities of work, childcare, and motherhood. My academic publications appear in Palgrave, Routledge, MaMSIE, Demeter Press and JMI, and I’m currently editing an anthology for Demeter Press called Care(ful) Relationships Between Mothers and the Caregivers They Hire. I have consulted for or appeared in releases by CBS, Center for Public Integrity, Chicago TribuneAuthority and Nature magazines, Fast Company, WGN Radio, and numerous podcasts, and I have served on the editorial board for Journal of Motherhood Initiative.

As executive director of IAMAS, I am oversee several working groups, plan and execute an annual, multi-day international conference, and represent our organization at select international conferences throughout the year, including NWSA, Carework Network, WFRN, and more. 

My goal is to enact social change when it comes to the role of childcare and advance the national conversation about mothering.

Curriculum Vitae


Ph.D., English with gender studies concentration, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, May 2014.

Dissertation: Traveling Toward Empathy: An Analysis of Mothers and Nannies in U.S. Literature Post-1985. This work provides an examination of how class and race are presented in seven novels and affect the development of empathy in fictional mother-employers and female readers.

Dissertation Committee: Judith Kegan Gardiner (chair), Ralph Cintron, Anna Guevarra, Sekile Nzinga-Johnson, and David Schaafsma.


M.A., English Education, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, July 2007.

Research and Teaching Interests

Contemporary Literature, Women’s Literature, Feminist and/or Psychoanalytic Literary Criticism, Introductory Gender Studies, Motherhood Studies, Gender and Globalization/Postcolonialism, Gender and Labor, Teaching of Writing and Composition, and English Education. Dissertation: Traveling Toward Empathy: An Analysis of Mothers and Nannies in U.S. Literature Post-1985.

Teaching Experience
2015 - present

North Central College
Adjunct Professor

English 115: First-Year Writing
English 315: Advanced Writing
GWS 100 : Gender, Sex and Society


University of Illinois at Chicago Lecturer, Gender and Women’s Studies

GWS 101: Gender in Everyday Life

2003 - 2005

Downers Grove South High School
Teacher, English and Psychology

Sophomore English
Junior English – Accelerated
Contemporary Literature


The Catch-22 of Childcare: How Culture, Ambivalence, and Neoliberalism Prevent Mothers From Being Greater Than They Already Are. Seeking publishing house currently.

“Love Bi the Book: A Chodorodian Examination of Heterosexual Mothers’ Love for Nannies in Contemporary Fiction.” Motherhood, Sex, and Sexuality: An Anthology. Editors: Joani Mortenson and Michelle Walks. Forthcoming.

“With the people from the Bridge.” Book Review. The Packingtown Review. Vol. 7, 2016. http://

“Intensive Mothering: Cultural Contradictions of Modern Motherhood.” Review. MaMSIE, Winter 2016.

“Reproducing Empathy in Mothers Who Read Nanny Novels.” Journal of the Motherhood Initiative. 5.2 (2014): 141-158.

Professional Service

Happily Ever After, Anthology by Demeter Press, Reviewer 2017

Journal of the Motherhood Initiative, Editorial Board, 2017.

Journal of the Motherhood Initiative, Editorial Board, 2014.

Feminist Studies, Peer Reviewer, 2013

Professional Conferences

“The Reproduction of Empathy in the Novel Terrain between Mothers and Nannies.” Motherhood and Culture conference. Maynooth University. Maynooth, Ireland. June 2015.

“Love Bi the Book: A Chodorowian Examination of Heterosexual Mothers’ Love for Nannies in Contemporary Fiction.” Maternal Subjectivities: Psychology/Psychoanalysis, Literature, Culture and the Arts. Mothering Initiative for Research and Community Involvement. Rome, Italy. April 2015.


Modern Language Association

Mothering Initiative for Research and Community Involvement

National Council of Teachers of English

American Sociological Assocation

National Women’s Studies Association

American Association of University Women

Sister District Project

League of Women Voters

Additional Work Experience

Illinois Humanities Council
Public Relations and Marketing, Chicago, IL

1999 - 2000

Divine interVentures
Sales and Marketing

1998 - 2000

Rotary International
Sales and Marketing


Dr. Jennifer Jackson
Associate Professor of English / Director of the Writing Center and First-Year Writing
North Central College
Department of English


Dr. Suzanne Chod
Associate Professor of Political Science / Coordinatory of Genders and Women’s Studies
North Central College
Department of  Political Science


Dr. Natalie Bennett
Assistant Director
University of Illinois at Chicago
Gender and Women’s Studies program


Dr. Judith Kegan Gardiner
Professor Emerita
University of Illinois at Chicago
Departments of English and Gender Studies