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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Guest Post: Dr. Karen O'Brien (Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney)

(Dr. Karen O'Brien)

Dr. Karen O’Brien is a Senior Lecturer in History and Indigenous Studies at the University of Sydney. I feel very honoured to have met and studied under Dr. O'Brien during my participation in the Summer Abroad Program- Sydney Australia in 2010.  Her genuine interest and the enthusiasm she shows in  teaching and learning  in regards to Indigenous issues has captured me in ways and words I have a hard time conveying. Connecting with her has genuinely made a lasting positive impact on me during my studies while I was in Sydney, Australia and to this day. 

She is interested in research that explores fresh approaches to researching and writing Indigenous histories and experiences. Her research takes an approach that advocates a critical awareness of the ways in which history has been written and one that might positively influence its research in the future.  Karen’s research explores historical sources that are rich in personal narrative and life stories such as biography, testimonial studies, oral histories and history from images and it draws on a range of theoretical and methodological approaches that aim to secure an authentic historical voice.  

Her appointment synthesises her research and teaching in two broad areas of Indigenous Studies and history. It forms a catalyst for her teaching and research which she has developed successfully since 1992. It is an area that she loves and to which she brings much experience. Her teaching and research strongly and efficiently supports the involvement of Indigenous perspectives.  Her research, teaching and learning has also been instrumental in helping to change the collective consciousness regarding Indigenous issues in universities and the broader Australian community.

She teaches the Politics of Indigenous Identity, Gender and Knowledge, Issues in Indigenous rights and Colonising and Decolonising Indigenous histories and is currently supervising a number of Indigenous postgraduate students in Indigenous research, and has also lived and worked in an Inidgenous community for the past 25 years. 

(2010)   ‘With my eyes, my heart and with my brain I am thinking:  Indigenous History from Images, Australia and New Zealand Law and History Journal

(December, 2008)  ‘Academic Language, Power and the Impact of Western Knowledge Production on Indigenous Education’ Australian Journal of Indigenous Education

Firstly, as an important matter of cultural protocol,  it is important for me to note above Dr. Karen O'Brien's Indigenous history from images article that:

Members of Indigenous communities are respectfully advised that a number of people mentioned in writing and in images in this journal article have passed away.

Please enjoy reading the work of Dr. Karen O'Brien:

 ‘With my eyes, my heart and with my brain I am thinking’1: Testimony, Treaty and Decolonising Indigenous History from Images
Karen O’Brien2

(this article is published in the Australia and New Zealand Law and History Journal  (2011)

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