Hazel O'Brien
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20032022

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Personal profile

Biography

Hazel O' Brien is a Lecturer in sociology at WIT 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 at WIT since 2008.  

Hazel'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. 

She is currently supervising postgraduate projects related to the the role of Irish social media influencers in narratives of self-control in Irish women’s identity work, the experience of precarity on migrant identity amongst Brazilian migrants in Ireland, and the role of children's literature in children's identity development. 

Her 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, Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford. 

  • Teach Sociology across Arts, Social Science, Psychology, Social Care, and Early Childhood Studies degree programmes. 

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. 

Hazel 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 gendered identities. 

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 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Exeter

Award Date: 13 Dec 2018

Masters Degree, Maynooth University

Award Date: 01 Jul 2002

Bachelors Degree, Maynooth University

Award Date: 01 Jul 2001

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