Hazel O'Brien
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20032022

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Personal profile

Biography

Dr Hazel O' Brien is a Lecturer in sociology at SETU and a member of the Analysing Social Change Research Group and Spirituality in Society and in the Professions Research Group in the School of Humanities. She has taught across Arts, Social Science, Psychology, Early Childhood Studies, and Social Care programmes since 2008.  

Dr O'Brien's research interests include religious identities, the relationship between majority and minority cultures, and gender and sexualities.  She is drawn towards ethnography as a research method, and is interested in digital ethnography and the study of digital religions and religions online. 

Dr O'Brien currently supervises postgraduate projects related to the experience of precarity on migrant identity amongst Brazilian migrants in Ireland, the role of children's literature in children's identity development, a queer theology approach to the work and life of St Francis, and an examination of the role of feminism in conservative movements.

Dr O'Brien's own research is currently focused on the adaptations of tradition inherent within Global Mormonism. 

Teaching

2006-2008 Outreach Lecturer in Women's Studies, UCD, Dublin. 

  • Taught general introductory modules in Women's and Gender Studies, and Sociology modules relating to the role of women in Irish society throughout the 20th century. 

2008-Present Lecturer in Sociology, South East Technological University, Waterford. 

  • Research Project coordinator for MA in Social Justice and Public Policy
  • Teach Sociology across Arts, Social Science, Psychology, Social Care, and Early Childhood Studies undergraduate degree programmes. 
  • Dissertation coordinator for undergradute sociology dissertations

Research Interests

Research interests span Sociology, Anthropology, Gender Studies, and Sexualities. Interests at the moment are focused in the area of the sociology and anthropology of religion, specifically the experiences of minority religious groups in Ireland. 

Dr O'Brien is generally interested in exploring the relationship between majority/minority cultures, whether that manifests itself through religion, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality. Key themes throughout her research are the role of tradition and memory in identity, and the intersections and conflicts of religious, ethnic, and national identities.

Ongoing current projects include: exploring Irish Mormonism in a global mileau, synthesising the study of religions in Ireland, and exploring the role of women in modern Mormonism (funded by and in conjunction with the Maxwell Institute of Brigham Young University), and the supervision of postgraduate projects in the areas of identity and culture

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Being Mormon in Ireland: An Exploration of Religion in Modernity Through a Lens of Tradition and Change, University of Exeter

Award Date: 13 Dec 2018

Masters Degree, The Modern Parish at Work in Ireland: An Examination of Three Parishes in the Dublin Diocese, Maynooth University

Award Date: 01 Jul 2002

Bachelors Degree, Sociology and English, Maynooth University

Award Date: 01 Jul 2001

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