Associate Professor Patricia O’Brien is a Visiting Fellow at the Department of Pacific Affairs and School of History.
She is a wide-ranging historian and analyst of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, and is currently working on Pacific issues such as Solomon Islands security, Compact of Free Association negotiations, Australia’s Pacific history and its relevance to current regional issues. She also works on AUKUS and Australia’s relations with the US.
Associate Professor O’Brien is the author of Tautai: Sāmoa, World History and the Life and Ta’isi O. F. Nelson (2017), The Pacific Muse: Exotic Femininity and the Colonial Pacific (2006) and is co-editor of League of Nations: Histories, Legacies and Impact (2018) and numerous other works. She was the resident Australian and Pacific historian at Georgetown University, Washington DC from 2000-2013, the Jay I. Kislak Fellow in American Studies at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress in 2011 and the J. D. Stout Fellow in New Zealand Studies at Victoria University Wellington in 2012. From 2014-2019 she was an Australian Research Council Future Fellow in the ANU School of History.
In 2020, Associate Professor O’Brien returned to Georgetown University’s Asian Studies Program to teach on Pacific pasts, presents and futures. As well as ongoing historical writing and research, she has done analysis, podcasts and media commentary on Pacific-related topics, from Samoa’s constitutional crisis (and is also co-editing a book on this complex topic), regional relations with Papua New Guinea, US atomic testing in the Marshall Islands, the current Compact of Free Association negotiations, the AUKUS agreement and Covid-19 in the Pacific and US-based Pasifika communities.
In 2021, she joined the ANU Department of Pacific Affairs as a visiting fellow and the Pacific Partners Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Washington DC.