Section: Overview
Key publications
Research funding
Supervising & teaching

Key details

Areas of expertise

  • Critical race theory
  • Popular theatre
  • Caribbean diasporas
  • Community development & international development
  • Working-class writing and performance

Available to supervise research students

Available for media queries

About Karina Smith

Karina has a research track record in Caribbean literature and theatre with a specific focus on Jamaican women's theatre. She has published widely in internationally peer-reviewed journals and edited collections and has presented at international conferences in Australia and overseas.

In 2009 she worked alongside members of the Caribbean community of Victoria to prepare an exhibition at Melbourne Immigration Museum called Callaloo: The Caribbean Mix in Victoria. Alongside Lisa Montague and Pat Thomas, and in conjunction with CaribVic; the Caribbean Association of Victoria, she subsequently published a collection of the community's stories of immigration, titled Adding Pimento: Caribbean migration to Victoria, Australia  (Breakdown 2014).

The book, Adding Pimento, is the first to document the migration stories of people either from the Caribbean or of Caribbean-descent who moved to Australia from the 1960s onwards. Smith wrote an introduction that places these stories of immigration in their historical context, demonstrating that there were connections between the Caribbean region and Australia since invasion. The publication of the book was supported by funding from the Victorian Multicultural Commission and from Victoria University.

Karina has also been awarded grants to conduct research on popular theatre in Canada, the UK, and the Caribbean. In 2010, she was given an award from the International Council of Canadian Studies, and in 2016 she was awarded a fellowship by the Society of Theatre Research (UK).

In 2007-2008 and in 2011-2013, Karina was the President of the Australian Association for Caribbean Studies. She is currently a member of the following Associations:

  • Caribbean Studies Association
  • Australian Association for Caribbean Studies
  • American Association for Theatre Research


  • BA (Hons), University of Newcastle, 1994
  • PhD, University of Newcastle, 2001

Key publications

Year Citation
2015 Sonn, C., Smith, K., & Meyer, K. (150101). Challenging Structural Violence Through Community Drama: Exploring Theatre as Transformative Praxis In Bretherton, D. ;. (Ed.) (26th) (pp. 293-308). Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.
2014 SMITH, K. (140101). Caribbean Migration to Victoria from the 1830s onwards In Smith, K. ;. (Ed.) (1) Melbourne, Australia: Breakdown Press.

Year Citation
2021 Smith, K. (210101). Mapping a counter-topography through Popular Theatre: Sistren Theatre Collective's feminist activism in Jamaica and Canada. Gender, Place and Culture, 28(1), (130-150).

doi: 10.1080/0966369X.2019.1710470

2019 Smith, K. (190901). Once upon a time there was a little girl : Colonialism, illegitimacy , and speciesism in Scott Rankin s Beasty Girl: The Secret Life of Errol Flynn. Journal of Commonwealth Literature, 54(3), (413-428).

doi: 10.1177/0021989417726106

2018 Smith, K., & Smith, L. (180301). "The sound of unknowing": Theorizing race, gender, and "illegitimacy" through jamaican family photography. Journal of Women's History, 30(1), (107-128).

doi: 10.1353/jowh.2018.0005

2017 Smith, K. (170101). Claiming caribbean space: re-enacting carnival in Melbourne, Australia. Revista Brasiliera do Caribe, (107-119).
2015 Smith, K. (150101). Just Surviving': Domestic work as a form of structural violence in Sistren Theatre Collective's Domestick. Women's History Review, 24(3), (351-371).

doi: 10.1080/09612025.2014.964066

2014 Smith, K. (140101). The Attic of My Grandmother's Subconscious : Whiteness , Illegitimacy and Migration in Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea and Honor Ford-Smith's Grandma's Estate . Women, 25(3), (287-304).

doi: 10.1080/09574042.2014.977602

2013 Smith, K. (131201). Sugar, sugar: Questioning the sexual division of labour on Jamaica's sugar plantations in sistren's the case of miss iris armstrong and sweet sugar rage. Women's History Review, 22(6), (861-876).

doi: 10.1080/09612025.2013.780847

2013 Smith, K. (130701). These things not marked on paper: Creolisation, affect and tomboyism in Joan anim-addo's janie, cricketing lady and margaret cezair-thompson's the pirate's daughter. Feminist Review, 104(1), (119-137).

doi: 10.1057/fr.2013.13

Research funding for the past 5 years

Funding details for this researcher are currently unavailable.


Many thanks to the following organisations for their support and essential contributions to my research:

  • Society for Theatre Research (ATR), UK

    I was given a Society for Theatre Research Award in 2017 to conduct research on popular theatre in the UK. The project looked specifically at the influence of Caribbean popular theatre on British popular theatre, particularly through the exchange of skills and ideas at the London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT) in the 1980s.

  • International Council for Canadian Studies

    In 2010, the ICCS gave me a grant to conduct research on popular theatre in Canada. The grant supported my travel and accommodation expenses for a period of four weeks, during which time I interviewed popular-theatre practitioners and conducted archival research at the University of Edmonton, the University of Guelph, and the University of Ottawa.

Supervision of research students at VU

Available to supervise research students

Available for media queries

Currently supervised research students at VU

No. of students Study level Role
2 Masters by Research Associate supervisor
1 Masters by Research Principal supervisor
5 PhD Principal supervisor
1 PhD Withdrawn - Principal supervisor
1 PhD Associate supervisor

Currently supervised research students at VU

Students & level Role
Masters by Research (2) Associate supervisor
Masters by Research (1) Principal supervisor
PhD (5) Principal supervisor
PhD (1) Withdrawn - Principal supervisor
PhD (1) Associate supervisor

Completed supervision of research students at VU

No. of students Study level Role
2 PhD Associate supervisor
2 PhD Principal supervisor

Completed supervision of research students at VU

Students & level Role
PhD (2) Associate supervisor
PhD (2) Principal supervisor

Teaching activities & experience

Karina teaches in Literary and Gender Studies. She is currently the coordinator of these units in the Literary Studies program:

And these units n the Gender Studies program:

Karina also supervises postgraduate students in the Masters, PhD and PhD (Integrated) programs. 

Prior to commencing at VU, Karina taught Communications and Cultural Studies at CQU (Sydney International Campus), Study Skills in the Foundation Program at Wollongong University College (Sydney), and Drama at the University of Newcastle. 


Details of this Researcher's career are currently unavailable.