Dr Karen Downing

BA Hons (ANU), PhD (ANU)
Honorary Lecturer
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Research interests

Late 18th and early 19th century cultural history in Britain and Australia; gender, especially masculinities; histories of emotions; historical theory and method.


Karen is an honorary lecturer in the School of History, where she completed her PhD in 2011. The book resulting from her doctoral research – Restless Men: Masculinity and Robinson Crusoe, 1788-1849 – was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2014. Her work has also been published in Men and Masculinities, History Australia, and the Australian Journal of Politics and History.

Karen contributes to the course HIST1214 Empires in Global History.

Researcher's projects

Karen is currently working on an edited collection Negotiating Masculinities and Modernity in the Maritime World 1815-1940 with Professor Joanne Begiato (Oxford Brookes University) and Dr Johnathan Thayer (Queens College, CUNY) which will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in October 2021. 

She is also contributing to the Gendered Excellence in the Social Sciences project which asks what impact women’s limited influence and status in five key fields of research (economics, history, philosophy, political science and sociology) has upon our capacity to grapple with the social and political changes necessary for progress toward gender equality.

Current student projects

Matilda Hatcher, 'Madness, Melancholia, Nostalgia: British Naval Masculinity and Emotion of the French Wars and their Aftermath'



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Updated:  25 July 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers