All of Kara’s research is grounded in an interrogation of American culture through critical analysis of historical narratives and cultural production. She is particularly interested in the uses of history and understandings of the past, the stories we tell ourselves about our collective history, the ways interpretations of the past reflect ideologies, anxieties, and values of the present, and the ways these ideologies and anxieties are mapped onto visions of the future. She is fully committed to an interdisciplinary approach and believes that one needs to come at a question from a number of different perspectives in order to stake the most comprehensive claims and develop an understanding of culture in all its complex forms.
In her research, she engages with the methods utilized in a number of relevant fields, including history, critical historical studies, reception studies, film studies, critical media studies, literary studies, cultural studies, anthropology, critical tourism studies, critical heritage studies, and transnationalism. By exploring the meanings articulated through film and television, literature, popular media, and public space, her goal is to expose attitudes and beliefs around relations of power, race, class, gender and sexuality, xenophobia, capitalism, empire and colonialism, environmental degradation, and the nature of humanity itself.