Dr Karen O'Brien

Senior Lecturer Socio-Legal Studies

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

Telephone +61 2 9036 5199

Website Follow@DrKarenOBrien
ARC Centre for History of Emotions
Contact Details

Biographical details

Karen’s research contributes to producing cutting-edge interdisciplinary understandings of individual and communal emotions in a global context. Taking an approach of historical sociology, her research investigates petitions in thelongue duréethat express violence, hardship, racial brutality and vulnerability in a range of thematic, temporal and geo-political contexts. Karen is a member of an AHRC fundedinternational networkexamining the universal, but diverse practices of petitions and petitioning. The network consists of the participation of scholars from across the humanities and social sciences from the UK, Europe, the U.S.A. and Australia.Her publicationPetitioning for Land:The Petitions of First Peoples of Modern British Colonies, Bloomsbury (2018), investigates the expression of First Nations political request and offers an exploration of petitions that impart a position of autonomy and entitlement in adverse social conditions. As an associate investigator of an ARC Centre of Excellence, Karen contributes to the ‘Emotions and Senses’ series at Cambridge University Press. Her book in this series entitledEmotions and Petitioningwill publish in April 2019.Karen’s research draws on a range of novel theoretical and methodological approaches that amplify the First Nations voice within the socio-legal area. She is interested in global social and legal justice and how people across the world transcend life’s hardships by appealing to the law for justice. Her work is internationally influential in the field of petitioning and First Nations politics and rights.

Research interests

  • Emotions
  • Petitioning
  • Global First Nations Politics and Rights
  • Global First Nations Social and Legal Justice

Teaching and supervision

Teaching

  • SLSS2604: Indigenous Social and Legal Justice
  • SCLG3606: Visual Sociology: Society in Images
  • SCLG6916: Indigenous Rights - Global Issues

Previously Taught

Completions, Primary Supervisor

Vessels of Culture, Identity and Knowledge: From Displacement to Emplacement Through Aboriginal Tied-Bark Canoe Making Practices in South-Eastern Australian Indigenous Communities.

Yarning with Minjungbal women: testimonial narratives of trans generational trauma and healing explored through relationships with country and culture, community and family.

Policy and Indigenous Activism at James Price Point (Honours)

Current research students

Project title Research student
In Pursuit of Development: Conditional Cash Transfer Experience of Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines Bembie GIRADO
The survival paradox: Can a culture survive the political transgressions of post-war democratisation? Tamara PLAKALO
Self-identity and intergenerational transmission of culture within the Italian diaspora: a longitudinal study across three countries. Lina RAPONE

Associations

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

Awards and honours

Associate Investigator, The ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions (CHE), The Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS) Australia Prize for Distinctive Work in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

Associate Investigator Australia Research Council Centre of Excellence in History of the Emotions

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

Invited Speaker

2015 Invited expert speaker on Indigenous visual concepts to students and faculty members of the social sciences of Lewis and Clark College, Portland, Oregon, USA at Sydney University.

2014 Invited expert panelist at the University of Sydney Media Briefing of international journalists representing the Foreign Correspondents Association on the Recognition of Indigenous Australians in the Constitution and the political and historical context of Indigenous Australian identity and political rights within the context of Indigenous Australian constitutional rights.

PhD and master's project opportunities

Selected grants

2017

  • First Nations Petitioning; O'Brien K; Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences/Research Support Scheme (FRSS).
  • Indigenous Petitioning; O'Brien K; ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions/Associate Investigator.

2016

  • First Australian Rights; O'Brien K; Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences/Research Grant.

2015

  • Redesigning Indigenous Discourse Formation, Decolonising Cultural Production and Asserting Power Through Film; O'Brien K; Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences/Research Support Scheme (FRSS).

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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Books

  • O'Brien, K. (2019). Emotions and Petitioning: Narratives of Violence, Hardship and Vulnerability (forthcoming). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • O'Brien, K. (2018). Petitioning for Land: The Petitions of First Peoples of Modern British Colonies. London: Bloomsbury. [More Information]

Book Chapters

  • O'Brien, K. (2015). Indigenous Icons and 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, (pp. 156-166). London: I.B. Tauris. [More Information]

Journals

  • O'Brien, K. (2017). Social Cohesion and Resilience in First Australian Family and Kinship Networks. Journal of Family History, 42(4), 440-451. [More Information]
  • O'Brien, K. (2016). Intimate Worlds: Kinship Relations and Emotional Investment among Nantwich Women 1603-1685. Journal of Family History, 41(2), 131-143. [More Information]
  • O'Brien, K. (2016). Sexual impropriety, petitioning and the dynamics of ill will in daily urban life. Urban History, 43(2), 177-199. [More Information]
  • 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 Francaise de civilisation britannique - Cercles [French Journal of British Studies]. [More Information]
  • O'Brien, K. (2014). Boots, Blankets and Bomb Tests: First Australian Petitioning and Resistance to Colonisation. Griffith Journal of Law and Human Dignity, 2(2), 357-376. [More Information]
  • O'Brien, K. (2014). Companions of Heart and Hearth: Hardship and the Changing Structure of the Family in Early Modern English Townships. Journal of Family History, 39(3), 183-203. [More Information]
  • O'Brien, K. (2014). 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. [More Information]
  • 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. [More Information]
  • 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. [More Information]

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.

2019

  • O'Brien, K. (2019). Emotions and Petitioning: Narratives of Violence, Hardship and Vulnerability (forthcoming). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

2018

  • O'Brien, K. (2018). Petitioning for Land: The Petitions of First Peoples of Modern British Colonies. London: Bloomsbury. [More Information]

2017

  • O'Brien, K. (2017). Social Cohesion and Resilience in First Australian Family and Kinship Networks. Journal of Family History, 42(4), 440-451. [More Information]

2016

  • O'Brien, K. (2016). Intimate Worlds: Kinship Relations and Emotional Investment among Nantwich Women 1603-1685. Journal of Family History, 41(2), 131-143. [More Information]
  • O'Brien, K. (2016). Sexual impropriety, petitioning and the dynamics of ill will in daily urban life. Urban History, 43(2), 177-199. [More Information]

2015

  • O'Brien, K. (2015). Indigenous Icons and 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, (pp. 156-166). London: I.B. Tauris. [More Information]

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 Francaise de civilisation britannique - Cercles [French Journal of British Studies]. [More Information]
  • O'Brien, K. (2014). Boots, Blankets and Bomb Tests: First Australian Petitioning and Resistance to Colonisation. Griffith Journal of Law and Human Dignity, 2(2), 357-376. [More Information]
  • O'Brien, K. (2014). Companions of Heart and Hearth: Hardship and the Changing Structure of the Family in Early Modern English Townships. Journal of Family History, 39(3), 183-203. [More Information]
  • O'Brien, K. (2014). 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. [More Information]

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. [More Information]

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. [More Information]

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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