Karen O'Brien
Professor O’Brien is currently Vice-Principal (Education) and Professor of English Literature at King’s College London

New Head of Humanities announced

Professor Karen O'Brien has been announced as the next Head of the Humanities Division at the University of Oxford.

Professor O'Brien is currently Vice-Principal (Education) and Professor of English Literature at King's College London. She read English at University College, Oxford, took her DPhil at Oxford (St Cross), and was awarded a Harkness Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. 

She was a research fellow at Peterhouse, Cambridge, and then held posts at Southampton, Cardiff, Warwick and Birmingham universities.  Her research focuses on the Enlightenment and eighteenth-century literature, particularly the historical writing and fiction of the period.

Professor O'Brien said: 'I am delighted to be taking on the role of Head of the Humanities Division, and I am looking forward to working alongside scholars and teachers of such high international standing.

'I am committed to using the experience I have gained as a Vice-Principal, working across all disciplines and faculties, for the benefit of the Division and the University.'

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said: I am delighted that Professor Karen O’Brien, currently Vice-Principal (Education) at King's College London, has accepted the offer of appointment as Head of the Humanities Division at Oxford.

'A graduate of Oxford, Karen has had a distinguished career in research, teaching and educational administration. She brings energy, intellect and experience to this critical role, leading our unrivalled humanities departments during this exciting time.'

Professor O'Brien will succeed Professor Chris Wickham, who was Interim Head of Humanities for the past year. He will retire from this post and the Chichele Professor of Medieval History in September 2016.