Professor Grace Karskens

Professor
BA MA PhD Sydney
School of Humanities & Languages

Contact

02 9385 1673
Room 340, Morven Brown
Kensington Campus

Consultation

Contact Professor Karskens for an appointment.

Professor Grace Karskens FAHA is a leading authority on early colonial Australia, cross-cultural history and ethnographic history. Her research areas also includes environmental and urban history, historical archaeology and public history. Grace’s books and articles have shifted the shape of Australian colonial and cross-cultural history, reached national and international audiences and won prestigious prizes, inlcuding the 2010 Prime Minister's Literary Award for Non-Fiction. Her next book People of the River  will be published by Allen & Unwin,

Since 2001 Grace has taught Australian history at every level at the University of New South Wales. Her particular interest is in connecting students’ scholarly learning and research with real world contexts such as heritage sites and museums, and she has successfully trained a generation of students via hands-on research, original projects and internships. She is a recipient of the prestigious UNSW Vice Chancellor’s Teaching Award.

Grace began her career as a public historian and has a lifelong commitment to bringing good history to wide audience through writing, speaking and teaching. She is an active contributor to several significant cultural and government organisations, including Sydney Living Museums, the State Library of New South Wales and the Dictionary of Sydney project, as well as film, television and radio appearances and projects.  Grace has served on a number of editorial boards, most notably Australia’s leading history journal Australian Historical Studies. In 2010 she was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy for the Humanities.

Teaching


At present I co-ordinate and teach ARTS1190 Australian Legends: Introducing Australian Studies.

From 2019 I will be teaching a new course exploring the history of Sydney.

Consultation Times
TBA and by appointment.

Honours and prizes

 

2011  Best Book 2009-2010 (non-North American), Urban History Association (US) for The Colony: A History of Early Sydney.

2010   Prime Minister’s Literary Award – Non-Fiction, for The Colony: A History of Early Sydney.

2010   Elected a  Fellow of the Australian Academy for the Humanities

2006   Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of New South Wales 

2000  National Trust Heritage 2000 Award : Category E – Print. Joint winner with Godden Mackay Logan for Cumberland/Gloucester Street Site Archaeological Project Publications, including Inside 

           the Rocks: The Archaeology of a Neighbourhood and four academic articles.

2000  National Trust Heritage 2000 Award : Category A - Conservation- Built/Cultural Heritage. Joint winner with Siobhan Lavelle for  'Stage 1 Conservation Plan for the Great North Road'.

1998  National Christina Smith Award for Community History, for The Rocks: Life in Early Sydney.

1998  NSW Premier's Award (Community and Regional History) for The Rocks: Life in Early Sydney.

Professional contribution

Trustee           Sydney Living Museums (Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales (NSW state government appointment, 2008-2016)

Chair               Curatorial and Public Engagement Advisory Committee, Sydney Living Museums

Deputy Chair   The Dictionary of Sydney Inc. (member since 2006)

Member           Editorial Board, Australian Historical Studies.

Judge               Coral Thomas Research Award (State Library of New South Wales) 2015

Member            Editorial Board, Recollections: a journal of Museums and Collections, National Museum of Australia (2008-2011)

Member            Editorial Board, Journal of Post Medieval Archaeology 2003-2008.

Chair                 Environmental City Panel, State of Australian Cities Conference, Brisbane, 2005.

Expert Advisor    Museum of Sydney, Hyde Park Barracks Museum and Susannah Place Museum

Celebrity Speaker, Art Gallery of New South Wales

 

Affiliations and membership

Fellow, Australian Academy for the Humanities

Carson Fellow, Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society

Member, Australian Historical Association

Member, Royal Australian HIstorical Society

Member, HIstory Council of New South Wales

Member, National Trust of Australia (NSW)

Visiting Fellow, National Museum of Australia

Related links

‘On the Rocks’ Uniken – UNSW Magazine, 15 December 2016/Summer 2016/2017, https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/social-affairs/rocks

‘Manly Cove, Kai’ymay’, NSW Office of Environment Aboriginal Heritage Project, Dictionary of Sydney, 2015 http://dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/manly_cove_kaiymay

 ‘Appin Massacre’ NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Aboriginal Heritage Project, Dictionary of Sydney, 2015 http://dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/appin_massacre

 ‘Barangaroo and the Eora Fisherwomen’, Cultural Ribbon Foreshores History Project, Dictionary of Sydney, 2015 http://dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/barangaroo_and_the_eora_fisherwomen

 ‘Painting Old Sydney’, (with Caroline Butler-Bowden), Cultural Ribbon Foreshores History Project, Dictionary of Sydney, 2015 http://dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/painting_old_sydney

 ‘The Governor and his convict architect: Alisdair McGregor’s A forger’s progress and Luke Slattery’s The First Dismissal’, Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age, 31 January 2105.

 ‘Harbour life: tracing early Sydney’s watery history’, The Conversation, 15 January 2014, https://theconversation.com/harbour-life-tracing-early-sydneys-watery-history-21892

‘The myth of Sydney’s Foundational Orgy’, Dictionary of Sydney, 2011, http://dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/the_myth_of_sydneys_foundational_orgy

‘Sydney from the West Side of the Cove c1803’, invited contribution to ‘A Living Collection’ online exhibition celebrating centenary of the Mitchell Library, 2010 http://www.onehundred.sl.nsw.gov.au/100-objects/ALC_Grace-Karskens.aspx

‘Barangaroo, a woman worth remembering’, Sydney Morning Herald, 6-7 March 2010 http://newsstore.fairfax.com.au apps/viewDocument.ac;jsessionid=2DE1D8C955AE5271A7A701EA46A4C698?sy=afr&pb=all_ffx&dt=selectRange&dr=1month&so=relevance&sf=text&sf=headline&rc=10&rm=200&sp=brs&cls=21296&clsPage=1&docID=SMH100306RF6JA5GIS97

‘What sort of  settlement?’ public lecture for the Blackheath History Forum, Blackheath see http://www.blackheathhistoryforum.org.au/images/stories/karskens.pdf (PDF)

‘The Rocks’, Dictionary of Sydney, 2008, http://dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/the_rocks

 YouTube presentations:

 'The Heritage of Aboriginal Sydney: Placing Lost Histories’, So, What? Public Lecture Series, University of New South Wales 2010 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNN5nlh3pvk

Voices from beneath’, presentation for TEDx Sydney, Carriageworks Redfern, online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNOPVgdpVFA

'Convicts and the making of Australia’, 2012 Allan Martin Public Lecture, Australian National University http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vP-Li2vvdkA

Rachel Carson Center, Five Minutes with a Fellow, 2012 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xr8Li7LU5v8

Related news

Other information

KEYNOTE ADDRESSES

November 2016     ‘War, law, resistance and massacre: recovering and rethinking frontier conflict on the Hawkesbury-Nepean River 1794-1816’, The Project: History Extension Seminar, Sydney Living 

                               Museums and State Library of New South Wales, Sydney.

October 2016          Lesley Muir Memorial Keynote Address, Royal Australian Historical Society Annual Conference, Wollongong.

March 2016             'Men, women, couples and families on Australia’s first frontier’, Makings of the City conference, Penrith.

February 2015         ‘Men, women, sex and desire: family history on Australia’s first frontier’, 14th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry, Canberra.

August 2012             ‘Seeking Sydney from the ground up’, From the Ground Up: People and Place in Sydney’s Past Conference, Sydney

May 2012                 ‘The Settler Evolution: space, place and memory in early colonial Australia’,   The Colonies conference, Association for the Study of Australian Literature, Wellington

February 2010,          ‘Lachlan and Elizabeth: The Power Couple of the 1810s’  Macquarie  Bicentenary Address,  Historic Houses Trust of  New South Wales and  History Council of New South Wales.

June 2008                 ‘Lost Geographies of A

 

PUBLIC LECTURES AND PRESENTATIONS

September 2016, ‘Eora women fisherwomen’, for Jonathan Jones, barangal dyara (skin and bones) (art installation), Kaldor Public Art Projects, Botanic Gardens.

August  2016, ‘All that is solid melts into air: landscapes of loss and resilience at Sydney’s edges’, for Jonathan Jones, Spotfire series, Kaldor Public Art Projects, Australian Museum.

September 2013 ‘Why I Like Bad Art’, Art After Hours Celebrity Talk, Art Gallery of New South Wales.

November 2012 ‘Vanished country: the Penrith Lakes Scheme and the lost world of Castlereagh’,Lunchtime Colloquium, Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, Munich.

May 2012, ‘Paradise of Waters:  The Art of Sydney Harbour’, floor talk, Art Gallery of New South Wales

April 2012, ‘Shifting the shape of Australian history: convicts, the  early colonial period and the making of Australia’, 2012 Allan Martin Public Lecture, Australian National University

March 2012, ‘Secrets of the Rocks’, for Library Up Late: Sydney’s Secrets from the Dictionary of Sydney, Customs House Library, Sydney

March 2012, ‘Learning the new land: Lewin’s ecological eye’, for J. W. Lewin Symposium, State Library of  New South Wales

March 2012 ‘People and country at Castlereagh’ for Above and Beyond: 11th Makings of a City History Conference: Penrith City Council, Penrith.

May 2011 ‘Voices from beneath’, presentation for TEDx Sydney, Carriageworks Redfern, online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNOPVgdpVFA 

April 2011 ‘Recovering history, colliding with myth: why do true stories matter?’ True Stories: Writing History Symposium,  National Library of Australia.

September 2010, ‘A new history of Sydney’, Cities Symposium, University of Sydney,

May 2010 ‘The colony and Sydney Harbour’, Sydney Writers Festival event, S H Ervin Gallery, Sydney.

May 2010 ‘Governor Macquarie and the Public Good’, public lecture, Visions Symposium, History Council of New South Wales, Museum of Sydney

May 2010, ‘The Big House, the Long View’, Historic Houses Trust and Sydney Writers Festival event, The Mint, Sydney.

April 2010, ‘Lachlan and Elizabeth: The Power Couple of the 1810s’, Macquarie 2010 Event, National Trust of NSW (Hunter Region), Newcastle Town Hall.

September 2009, ‘What sort of  settlement?’ public lecture for the Blackheath History Forum, Blackheath see http://www.blackheathhistoryforum.org.au/images/stories/karskens.pdf (PDF)

September   2009, ‘The Heritage of Aboriginal Sydney: Placing Lost Histories’, So, What? Public Lecture Series, University of New South Wales online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNN5nlh3pvk

March 2008, ‘Property is too sacred to be taken away…merely at the will of a Governor’:  property, authority and rebellion’, paper given at the ‘Rebellion: Authority and Protest in Convict Australia’                       Museum of Sydney.

December 2007, ‘Real things from the real past: journeys with artefacts’, paper presented at the National Museum of Australia.

September 2007, ‘Raising the Dead: Attitudes to Human Remains in the Sydney Region 1840-2000’ paper presented to Randwick Historical Society.

September 2006 ‘Urban People, urban places, urban resilience: history, sustainability and the future of our cities’, paper presented at the inaugural Max Kelly Forum Sydney Since the Sixties,

                            Sydney, 1 September, 2006.

September 2005 ‘The Legend of the Foundational Orgy’, Writing History Day, NSW Writers’ Centre, Rozelle.

September 2003, 'Resurrecting Chapman', paper given for the Historic Houses Trust Lecture Series on Jewish Convicts at the Barracks, Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney.

June 2003 'Archaeological Sydney', talk for NSW History Council and Sydney City Council, 'Whose  Sydney?: Reflections on the History and Memory of Sydney', Sydney Town Hall.

 May 2001 'Voices from the Water's Edge: Heritage, Modernity and History', public lecture, National Trust of Australia (NSW) Lecture Series