Dr Karen O'Brien

Senior Lecturer Socio-Legal Studies

A26 - R.C. Mills Building
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 9036 5199

Website Contact Details

Biographical details

Karen is interested in how people across the world transcend life’s hardships by appealing to the law for justice. Her research explores socio-legal concerns in varying geographical and temporal contexts. It explores legal sources that are rich in personal narrative and it draws on a range of theoretical and methodological approaches that aim to secure an original voice. Her research examines manuscripts and legal records from a variety of legal institutions such as courts, quarter sessions and assizes and takes into account such legal sources as testimony and petitions in people’s attempts to achieve justice.

Research interests

  • Transnational Indigenous social and legal justice;
  • Transnational Indigenous rights in law, policy and practice;
  • Sociology of race
  • The philosophical, legal and cultural foundations of Indigenous rights
  • Early modern social, legal and gender contexts
  • Indigenous political activism
  • Mechanisms of social control

Teaching and supervision

Teaching

Supervision

  • Indigenous rights and activism and self-determination
  • Indigenous critical theory and Indigenous knowledge systems
  • Social, legal and gender history
  • Early modern studies
  • Crime and the Courts

Postgraduate Research

M. Saunders: Yarning with Minjungbal women: new perspectives of experiences of trans generational trauma

 (M. Ed)


Mariko Smith: Indigenous Journeys: Yuin Watercraft in Histories and Experiences (PhD)

Associations

  • Member of Indigenous Studies Research Network
  • Member of International Visual Sociology Association (IVSA)

Awards and honours

2013 Visiting Professor Beijing University of International Business and Economics

The Murray Macgregor Memorial Fellowship, St Deiniol's Library, Hawarden, North Wales

Scholar-in-Residence, Melbourne University, 2001-2002

PhD and master's project opportunities

Selected grants

2013

  • Investigating Indigenous Testimony, Petition, Treaty and Activism; O'Brien K; Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences/Research Support Scheme (FRSS).

2012

  • Law and Society; Beem B, Crofts T, Hendrischke H, Howard-Wagner D, Humphrey M, Lambourne W, Lee M, Macdonald G, Martin G, O'Brien K, O'Malley P, Park S, Piper N, Scott Bray R, Van Krieken R, Winter B; Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences/FASS Collaborative Research Scheme.

Selected publications

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Book Chapters

  • O'Brien, K. (2014). Indigenous Icons: 'Teaching Balanda': From Walkabout to Ten Canoes, Art, Activism and David Gulpilil. In Andrea Bandhauer, Michelle Royer (Eds.), Stars in World Cinema: Screen Icons and Star Systems Across Cultures (Tauris World Cinema Series). I.B.Tauris.

Journals

  • O'Brien, K. (2014). Book Review: J. Walvin, The Zong: A Massacre, the Law and the End of Slavery, Yale University Press, 2011, ISSN: 1292-8968. Revue française de civilisation britannique – Cercles. French Journal of British Studies.
  • O'Brien, K. (2014). Companions of Heart and Hearth: Hardship and the Changing Structure of the Family in Early Modern Townships. Journal of Family History.
  • O'Brien, K. (2014). Forthcoming: Boots, Blankets and Bomb Tests: Indigenous Australian Petitioning and Resistance to Colonisation. Griffith Journal of Law and Human Dignity, 2(2).
  • O'Brien, K. (2014). Forthcoming: Exhibition review: Forerunners of Change: Celebrating Indigenous Rights and the Aborigines Progressive Association, Hereby Make Protest Exhibition, Carriageworks, Sydney 17 June to 18 July, 2014. History Australia, 11(3).
  • O'Brien, K. (2014). Forthcoming: Sexual Impropriety, Petitions and the Dynamics of Ill-Will in Daily Urban Life. Urban History.
  • O'Brien, K. (2011). With my eyes, my heart and with my brain I am thinking: Testimony, Treaty and Decolonising Indigenous History from Images. Australia and New Zealand Law and History E-Journal, , 1-27.
  • O'Brien, K. (2008). Academic Language, Power and the Impact of Western Knowledge Production on Indigenous Student Learning. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 37, 56-60.

Conferences

  • O'Brien, K. (2010). Indigenous Rights and the Politics of Indigenous Identity, Gender and Knowledge. 29th Annual Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society Conference Owning the Past: Whose Past? Whose Present?.
  • O'Brien, K. (2007). Macer's Herbal and Popular Medicine in Early Modern England. Network of Early European Research Forum.
  • O'Brien, K. (2007). Regulating women: The mass media of the early modern world. Reporting Futures: journalism, new media, new - 2007 Public Right To Know Conference.
  • O'Brien, K. (2007). Violent Crime, Gender Relations and Law and Order in Early Modern England. Fenceposts in Legal History: 26th Annual Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society Conference.

2014

  • O'Brien, K. (2014). Book Review: J. Walvin, The Zong: A Massacre, the Law and the End of Slavery, Yale University Press, 2011, ISSN: 1292-8968. Revue française de civilisation britannique – Cercles. French Journal of British Studies.
  • O'Brien, K. (2014). Companions of Heart and Hearth: Hardship and the Changing Structure of the Family in Early Modern Townships. Journal of Family History.
  • O'Brien, K. (2014). Forthcoming: Boots, Blankets and Bomb Tests: Indigenous Australian Petitioning and Resistance to Colonisation. Griffith Journal of Law and Human Dignity, 2(2).
  • O'Brien, K. (2014). Forthcoming: Exhibition review: Forerunners of Change: Celebrating Indigenous Rights and the Aborigines Progressive Association, Hereby Make Protest Exhibition, Carriageworks, Sydney 17 June to 18 July, 2014. History Australia, 11(3).
  • O'Brien, K. (2014). Forthcoming: Sexual Impropriety, Petitions and the Dynamics of Ill-Will in Daily Urban Life. Urban History.
  • O'Brien, K. (2014). Indigenous Icons: 'Teaching Balanda': From Walkabout to Ten Canoes, Art, Activism and David Gulpilil. In Andrea Bandhauer, Michelle Royer (Eds.), Stars in World Cinema: Screen Icons and Star Systems Across Cultures (Tauris World Cinema Series). I.B.Tauris.

2011

  • O'Brien, K. (2011). With my eyes, my heart and with my brain I am thinking: Testimony, Treaty and Decolonising Indigenous History from Images. Australia and New Zealand Law and History E-Journal, , 1-27.

2010

  • O'Brien, K. (2010). Indigenous Rights and the Politics of Indigenous Identity, Gender and Knowledge. 29th Annual Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society Conference Owning the Past: Whose Past? Whose Present?.

2008

  • O'Brien, K. (2008). Academic Language, Power and the Impact of Western Knowledge Production on Indigenous Student Learning. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 37, 56-60.

2007

  • O'Brien, K. (2007). Macer's Herbal and Popular Medicine in Early Modern England. Network of Early European Research Forum.
  • O'Brien, K. (2007). Regulating women: The mass media of the early modern world. Reporting Futures: journalism, new media, new - 2007 Public Right To Know Conference.
  • O'Brien, K. (2007). Violent Crime, Gender Relations and Law and Order in Early Modern England. Fenceposts in Legal History: 26th Annual Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society Conference.

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