Karen Roesch is a Germanic Studies scholar who focuses on German-American studies, language pedagogy, sociolinguistics, language contact and change, and language documentation. Prior to joining IUPUI School of Liberal Arts' faculty, Roesch taught at Texas State University as well as at the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Ph.D. in 2009.
In Texas, Roesch specialized in studying the critically-endangered Texas-German dialect Alsatian. Her first book, "Language maintenance and language death: The decline of Texas Alsatian," published in 2012, is the first extensive description of Texas Alsatian as spoken in Medina County in the 21st century. This dialect was brought to Texas in the 1840s by colonists recruited by the French entrepreneur Henri Casto. Roesch's study both describes its grammatical features and discusses extra-linguistic factors contributing to the dialect's preservation or accelerating its decline, e.g., social, historical, political, and economic factors, and speaker attitudes and ideologies linked to cultural identity. The work's multi-faceted approach makes its relevant to a broad range of scholars such as dialectologists, historical linguists, sociolinguists, ethnographers, and anthropologists interested in language variation and change, language and identity, immigrant dialects, and language maintenance and death.
At IUPUI, Roesch is the director of the Max Kade German-American Research and Resource Center.