Joanna Cruickshank

Staff member

Joanna is a Senior Lecturer in History, with particular expertise in the history of religion in Australia and the British Empire. She came to Deakin in 2009, after completing her PhD at the University of Melbourne. Much of Joanna’s recent research has examined how religious ideas and institutions helped form (or undermined) the racial hierarchies established through the British Empire. Her most recent book (co-authored with Patricia Grimshaw) is White Women, Aboriginal Missions and Australian Settler Governments: Maternal Contradictions (Brill, 2019). Joanna regularly contributes to public discussion about the role of religion in contemporary society through press and broadcast media.

  • Research

    Joanna has been a Chief Investigator on a number of projects, funded by the Australian Research Council, which seek to recover histories of Indigenous leadership in Victoria and beyond. She is currently part of a team of Indigenous and non-Indigenous historians and legal scholars examining how histories of Indigenous leadership can inform current agreement making between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Previously, Joanna collaborated on the Minutes of Evidence project, which examines Indigenous leadership in the context of the Coranderrk Aboriginal Reserve. Outcomes of that project include a theatre performance, Coranderrk: We Will Show the Country, which toured Victoria, was performed at the Sydney Opera House and Parliament House, and has had repeat, sold-out seasons at La Mama Theatre. Joanna assisted in developing related curriculum resources for Victorian teachers. In 2016, Joanna crowdfunded $10,000 to bring the Coranderrk performance to Deakin, for audiences of school students, Wathaurong community members, and other members of the public in Geelong.

    Joanna’s PhD research focused on the culture of eighteenth-century English Methodism, and she continues to have an interest in the ways that British Christianity was exported, adopted, and transformed in imperial contexts. She has researched and written about preaching in colonial contexts, the emergence of ‘Dissenting’ traditions in the colonies, and the role of religion in Aboriginal child removal.

  • Select publications

    A full list of Joanna’s publications can be found on her Deakin staff page.

    In addition to her recent book, some significant publications include:

    • 2020. Joanna Cruickshank Mark McMillan, ‘Lawful Conduct, Aboriginal Protection and Land in Victoria, 1859-1869’, in Samuel Furphy and Amanda Nettelbeck (ed.), Aboriginal Protection and Its Intermediaries in Britain’s Antipodean Colonies, Routledge, New York, N.Y. 
    • 2017. Joanna Cruickshank, ‘Colonial Contexts and Global Dissent’, in T. Larsen and M. Ledger-Lomas (eds), The Oxford History of Protestant Dissenting Traditions – The Nineteenth Century, Oxford University Press, Oxford, England.
    • 2016. Joanna Cruickshank and Patricia Grimshaw, ‘”I Had Gone to Teach but Stayed to Learn”: Geraldine MacKenzie at Aurukun Mission, 1925-1965’, Journal of Australian studies, vol. 39, no. 1, 54-65.
    • 2012. Joanna Cruickshank, ‘The Sermon in the British Colonies’, in Keith A. Frances and William Gibson (eds), The Oxford Handbook of the British Sermon 1689-1901, Oxford University Press, Oxford, England.
    • 2010. Joanna Cruickshank, ‘Race, History, and the Australian Faith Mission’, Itinerario, vol. 34, no. 3, Special Issue 03 (Missions and Modernity), 39-52.
    • 2009. Joanna Cruickshank, Pain, Passion and Faith: Revisiting the Place of Charles Wesley in Early Methodism, Scarecrow Press, Inc., Lanham, Md.
    • 2006. Joanna Cruickshank, ‘”Appear as Crucified for Me”: Sight, Suffering, and Spiritual Transformation in the Hymns of Charles Wesley, Journal of Religious History, vol. 30, no. 3, 311-330.
  • Teaching

    Joanna has taught units on the history of Britain, Australia, the British Empire, and the Pacific. She currently teaches a unit which examines the history of the British Empire through the framework of sex and gender and another unit on the history of encounters between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people since the colonial invasion. Joanna also teaches a six-week module in the unit Making History, which focuses on how historians can use archives.

  • Supervision

    Joanna has extensive experience supervising Honours and PhD candidates researching topics including colonial history, women’s history, British history, and the history of Christianity since 1750.

     Current PhD students include

    • Bronwyn Shepherd, Making a Mission Space: The Early Years at the Milingimbi Methodist Mission, 1923-1943
    • Julien Varrenti-Osmond, The Role of Churches and Church Grounds in Western Victorian Farming Towns, 1850-1930
    • Jacqui Baker, ‘An Incomplete and Imperfect Revolution’: Remembering the WLM in Melbourne
    • Lee Sulkowska, ‘Prevent this Demoniacal Horde’: Cemeteries, Scandal and the Language of Civilization in Colonial Victoria
    • Kylie Pywell, The Woman Abortionist: Working-Class Abortion and ‘Voluntary Motherhood’ 1880-1920

    Completed PhD students include

    • Lauren Robinson (2020), Places of Pleasure and Freedom: Victorian Women on the Land (1835-1901)
    • Jennifer Louise Caligari, Bessie Harrison Lee (1860-1950) Evangelical, Temperance and Social Reformer
  • Awards, fellowships, and honours

    Joanna has on multiple occasions been recognised by the Faculty of Arts and Education at Deakin for ‘Exceptional student satisfaction’ in her units. In 2019, she was awarded the Faculty Teaching Excellence Award.

    Research awards and fellowships include:

    • 2009. Visiting Fellowship to the Oxford Centre for Methodism and Church History
    • 2009. Women in United Methodist History Research Grant
    • 2008. British Academy Visiting Fellowship to Manchester University
    • 2008. Wesleyan Methodist Theological Society Most Outstanding Dissertation
  • Media and public events

    Joanna has contributed multiple articles to the ABC Religion & Ethics website. She has been a guest on a number of ABC radio programs, including Soul Search, The Spirit of Things, and The Minefield. She also has been guest co-host on The Minefield and was a talking head for 12 seconds on Channel 10’s The Project.

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