PROF Deirdre Coleman

PROF Deirdre Coleman




  • Deirdre Coleman completed Honours in English at the University of Melbourne before going to Oxford University where she graduated with a BPhil (1979) in Victorian literature and a DPhil (1986) on Coleridge's journalism. Since returning to Australia she has taught at the Universities of Wollongong, Adelaide and Sydney. While at the University of Sydney she was awarded the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Research Supervision. In 2007 she returned to the University of Melbourne as the Robert Wallace Chair of English, and served as Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Arts from 2010-2013. She is currently completing a biography of the entomologist Henry Smeathman (1742-86) entitled The Flycatcher: Science, Slavery and Empire in the Age of Reason

    Deirdre's research interests include 18th and 19th century literature, science, and cultural history; abolitionism, women's writing, travel, colonialism, natural history, racial ideology, the gothic.   


Member of

  • Australian Academy of the Humanities. Council Member 2011 -
  • Romantic Studies Association of Australasia. Vice-President 2011 -
  • Australian Academy of the Humanities. Member 2006 -
  • Marsden Fund (Humanities Panel), Royal Society of New Zealand. Member 2011 - 2013
  • Australian Research Council College of Experts (HCA Panel). Member 2008 - 2010


Selected publications


Investigator on

Additional Grant Information

  • Fellow, Huntington Library (2014)
    UK Institute of Advanced Studies Fellow, University of Warwick (2014)
    Visiting Scholar, Trinity College, Cambridge (2010)
    Visiting Fellow, Birkbeck College and Royal Holloway, University of London (2009)   


Education and training

  • DPhil, University of Oxford 1986
  • BPhil, University of Oxford 1979
  • BA(Hons), University of Melbourne 1976

Awards and honors

  • Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, 2007
  • Vice-Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Research Higher Degree Supervision, University of Sydney, 2001


Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • To date, I have supervised to successful completion 26 PhD theses and 9 Masters theses. Since 2007, I have acted as principal supervisor on the following theses: Amy Walker (MA, 2008): "The Influence and Necessity of the Trickster Figure in Contemporary Native American and Aboriginal Australian Fiction" Stephen Sheehan (PhD, 2009): "The Automaton and the Detective: The Figure of the Automaton in the Detective Fiction of Poe, Hammett and Kafka" Julia List (PhD, 2011): "Erasmus Darwin and the Poetry of Science" Jena Zelezny (PhD, 2011): "Pleasure, Revolution, Possibility" Andrew Smith (PhD, 2011): "Real Pictures of the Poor: Ruin Sentiment and the British Labouring Classes, 1750-1830" Victoria Reeve (PhD, 2011): "Genre and Metaphors of Embodiment: Voice, View, Setting and Event" Lilian Cameron (PhD, 2012): "From Baudelaire to Sebald via the Australian Diaspora: Migrancy, Exile and Reflective Literary Memories" J. A. Heddle (PhD, 2012): "The Practice and Politics of Genre in the Novels and Travel Writing of Bruce Chatwin" Claire Thomas (PhD, 2012): "A Young Lady's Guide to the Continent: Travel and Marriage in Middlemarch, Daniel Deronda and The Portrait of a Lady - A Dissertation and Creative Re-Imagining" Tyne Daile Sumner (MA, 2013): "Merchants of Pathos: Confessional Poetry, Publicity and Privacy in Postwar America" Shirlaine Tse (MA, 2013): "Edwardians, Their Children and Their Perfect Children: The Secret Garden and Peter and Wendy" I have acted as associate supervisor on the following theses: Eric Parisot (PhD, 2009): "Graveyard Poetry: Agency, Authority and the Poetic Condition" Phyllis Yu-Ting (PhD, 2010): "Present Past, Past Present: History, Memory and Identity in Six Contemporary Historiographic Novels" Brandon Choon Hong Chua (PhD, 2012): "Ravishment of Reason: Politics and the Passions in Restoration Heroic Drama, 1660-1690" Nicole Heber (PhD, 2013): "Neuroscience and Contemporary Literature"