Dr Karen O'Brien

Senior Lecturer Socio-Legal Studies

A22 - Old Teachers' College
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

  • Early modern social, legal and gender contexts
  • Indigenous rights, political activism and self-determination
  • Mechanisms of social control
  • Indigenous Australian colonial conflict

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

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

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). Companions of Heart and Hearth: Hardship and the Changing Structure of the Family in Early Modern Townships. Journal of Family History, 39(3).
  • O'Brien, K. (2014). Review of 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. (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). Companions of Heart and Hearth: Hardship and the Changing Structure of the Family in Early Modern Townships. Journal of Family History, 39(3).
  • 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.
  • O'Brien, K. (2014). Review of 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.

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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