Dr Karen Fox

BA (Hons), MA (Canterbury); PhD (ANU)
Research Editor, National Centre of Biography; Senior Lecturer, School of History
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • Australian History (Excl. Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander History) 210303
  • Biography 210304
  • New Zealand History 210311
  • Gender History 430309
  • Culture, Gender, Sexuality 200205
  • History Of Empires, Imperialism And Colonialism 430313
  • Transnational History 430323

Research interests

Karen's research and supervision interests include:

  • famous lives, reputations, and biographies;
  • the history of fame, celebrity, and heroism;
  • media and cultural history, especially about representations of gender and race; 
  • women’s, gender, and feminist history;
  • comparative and transnational history of settler societies, particularly Australia and New Zealand; 
  • political and legal history, particularly relating to issues of gender and race; 
  • cross-cultural encounters, colonialism, and imperialism; 
  • nineteenth- and twentieth-century Australian and New Zealand history.


Karen Fox is a research editor for the Australian Dictionary of Biography in the National Centre of Biography, and a senior lecturer in the School of History. Karen joined the NCB in 2011, after completing her PhD at the Australian National University and her MA at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. Her PhD thesis was a study of the shifting ways in which ideas about race, gender, and nation were reflected and constructed in print media depictions of prominent Aboriginal and Maori women during the second half of the twentieth century. Her MA thesis was a history of knighthoods and damehoods in New Zealand since 1917, with particular emphasis on the awarding of titles to women.

Karen’s research interests include Australian and New Zealand history, imperial and colonial history, gender and feminist history, media history, the history of fame and celebrity, and biography and life writing. She has taught Australian and imperial history and biography at the Australian National University, and her research has appeared in national and international journals, including the Australian Journal of Politics and History, the Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, History Australia, and the Women’s History Review. Her most recent book is Honouring a Nation: A History of Australia's Honours System (ANU Press, 2022). She is currently researching the making and unmaking of historical reputations and the history of fame and celebrity in Australia.

Current teaching (2022):

HIST8011 Writing Biography (member of teaching team)

Researcher's projects

Karen is currently continuing her exploration of how we understand concepts of significance, merit, and reputation through researching the making and unmaking of historical reputations in Australia, and the history of fame and celebrity in Australia.




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Updated:  28 May 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers