Dr Karen Downing is a historian living and working in Canberra, Australia’s national capital. She is currently a visitor at School of History, Australian National University, and a researcher on the Gendered Excellence in the Social Sciences project. She is a member of the Australian Historical Association and has previously served on the AHA’s executive committee and as their executive officer.

Her main research interest is the construction of personal identities – how people in the past have created a sense of themselves – and how language works to essentialise certain identities, such as those of gender and nationality. This approach does not restrict her work to a particular place or time but a confluence of circumstance and necessity has seen her delve most deeply into Britain and Australia in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.