Senior lecturer in Literary Studies, Deakin University

Michelle Smith is a Senior Lecturer in Literary Studies and an Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Deakin University. She is currently working on the project ‘Beautiful Girls: Consumer Culture in British Literature and Magazines, 1850-1914’. In 2013, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship on the Australian Research Council Discovery project 'From Colonial to Modern: Transnational Girlhood in Australian, Canadian and New Zealand Print Cultures, 1840-1940'.

Michelle's research focuses on gender in Victorian literature and culture, as well as children’s literature. She completed her doctoral dissertation on British girls' literature and empire at the University of Melbourne in 2007. It was published as Empire in British Girls' Literature and Culture: Imperial Girls, 1880-1915 by Palgrave Macmillan (UK) in 2011. It won the 2012 European Society for the Study of English's Book Award for best book by a junior scholar. She is also the editor (with Kristine Moruzi) of Girls' School Stories, 1749-1929 (Routledge, 2013) and the collection Colonial Girlhood in Literature, Culture and History, 1840-1940 (Palgrave Macmillan).

Her research has been published in journals including Nineteenth-Century Contexts, Women's Writing, Victorian Periodicals Review, English Literature in Transition, The Lion and the Unicorn, Continuum, Papers: Explorations into Children's Literature and in numerous edited collections.

Michelle has published opinion pieces in the Age, the Washington Post, New Statesman, and The Drum and has been interviewed on numerous radio and television programmes.


  • 2013–present
    Research Fellow, Deakin University
  • 2011–2013
    ARC Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Melbourne
  • 2010–2010
    Associate Lecturer in Literary Studies, Deakin University


  • 2007 
    University of Melbourne, Doctor of Philosophy
  • 2003 
    University of Melbourne, Master of Arts
  • 2001 
    University of Queensland, Bachelor of Arts (Honours)


  • 2015
    Transforming Narratives of Colonial Danger: The Environment in New Zealand and Australian Children’s Literature, 1862-1899, Children, Childhood and Youth in the British World: Historical Perspectives
  • 2015
    Wild Australian Girls? The Mythology of Colonial Femininity in British Print Culture, 1880-1926, Girls, Texts, Cultures
  • 2014
    Colonial Feminism and Australian Literary Culture in Ethel and Lilian Turner's the Parthenon, 1889-1892, Women's Writing
  • 2014
    Education and Work in Service of the Nation: Canadian and Australian Girls' Fiction, 1908-1921, Colonial Girlhood in Literature, Culture and History
  • 2014
    Colonial Girlhood in Literature, Culture and History, 1840-1950, Palgrave Macmillan
  • 2014
    The ‘Australian Girl’ and the Domestic Ideal in Colonial Women’s Fiction, Antipodal Homes: Domestic Fiction in Colonial Australia and New Zealand
  • 2014
    ‘But What is His Country?’ Producing Australian Identity in the Victorian School Paper, 1896-1918”, Seriality and Texts for Young People: The Compulsion to Repeat
  • 2013
    'A great, strange world’: Reading the Girls’ School Story, Girls' School Stories, 1749-1929, Routledge
  • 2013
    Girls' School Stories, 1749-1929, Routledge
  • 2013
    The Postmodern Vampire in ‘Post-Race’ America: HBO's True Blood, Open Graves, Open Minds: Representations of Vampires and the Undead from the Enlightenment to the Present
  • 2012
    Animating Child Activism: Environmentalism and Class Politics in Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke (1997) and Fox’s Fern Gully (1992), Continuum
  • 2012
    Colonial Girls' Literature and the Politics of Archives in the Digital Age, Papers: Explorations into Children's Literature
  • 2012
    On the Origin of Men: Boyhood, Darwinism and Tarzan of the Apes, Global Perspectives on Tarzan: From King of the Jungle to International Icon
  • 2011
    Rudall Hayward’s Democratic Cinema and the Civilising Mission in ‘the Land of the Wrong White Crowd, New Zealand Cinema: Interpreting the Past
  • 2011
    Nineteenth-Century Female Crusoes: Rewriting the Robinsonade for Girls, Relocating Victorian Settler Narratives: Emigrants, Exiles, Returnees in Nineteenth-Century Fiction
  • 2010
    "Learning What Real Work...Means": Ambivalent Attitudes Towards Employment in the Girl's Own Paper, Victorian Periodicals Review
  • 2009
    Adventurous Girls of the British Empire: The Pre-War Novels of Bessie Marchant, The Lion and the Unicorn
  • 2009
    E. Nesbit's Psammead Trilogy: Reconfiguring Time, Nation, and Gender, English Literature in Transition
  • 2008
    'Girls, Girls, Everywhere!’ Angela Brazil’s Edwardian School Stories, Words Enough and Time: Childhood in Edwardian Fiction
  • 2006
    Be(ing) Prepared: Girl Guides, Colonial Life, and National Strength, Limina

Grants and Contracts

  • 2011
    From Colonial to Modern:Transnational Girlhood in Australian, New Zealand & Canadian Print Cultures
    Chief Investigator
    Funding Source:
    Australian Research Council

Research Areas

  • British And Irish Literature (200503)
  • Australian Literature (Excl. Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Literature) (200502)
  • Culture, Gender, Sexuality (200205)
  • Screen And Media Culture (200212)