Tony Joel

Staff member

Associate Professor Tony Joel is the Discipline Convenor for History in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Deakin University. Courtesy of a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) research scholarship, Tony spent 18 months in Germany conducting archival and field research for his PhD during which time he was based at the University of Cologne. His two main research interests are sports history and the politics of war memory and commemoration. Along with Deakin colleague Prof. David Lowe, Tony is series editor of Routledge’s Remembering the Modern World series. Tony’s main teaching responsibilities involve chairing units on the Holocaust, sport in history, and a groundbreaking new unit on the history of Australian football. He has won multiple awards for his teaching, including at the national level as a recipient of an Award for Teaching Excellence in the Humanities and Arts in the Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT) in 2016.

When Tony is not researching or teaching about history, his greatest joy is spending time with his wife and four children. He also enjoys playing lawn bowls, riding his Opera Super Leonardo road bike, listening to music (usually Springsteen, Counting Crows, or Public Enemy), and re-watching Seinfeld. Tony spends (or is that wastes?) most of his free time watching live sport, in particular barracking for his beloved Richmond, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, and the Boston Red Sox. Indeed, often he can be found daydreaming of being back at Fenway Park.


  • Research

    For his PhD (completed in 2009) Tony examined how the controversial WWII firebombing of Dresden was publicly represented and remembered from 1985 to 2005, probing home commemorative politics enveloped the anniversary of the city’s destruction on an annual basis immediately before, during, and following Germany’s reunification. This work culminated in Tony’s first book entitled The Dresden Firebombing: Memory and the Politics of Commemorating Destruction (first published in hardback by I.B.Tauris in 2013, and since published as a paperback by Bloomsbury in 2020).

    Tony expanded his interest in researching the politics of war memory and commemoration by teaming up with David Lowe to examine how, around a quarter-century after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cold War legacies continued to play crucial roles in defining national identities and shaping international relations around the globe. Their 2013 book Remembering the Cold War: Global Contest and National Stories is the first volume in Routledge’s ongoing Remembering the Modern World series for which Tony and David serve as the general editors (8 volumes to date).

    Tony’s other main research interest is sports history. In 2020, he teamed up with Mathew Turner to co-author the book On The Take, which explores the bribery scandal that engulfed the Carlton Football Club during the 1910 VFL finals series when two players, including champion rover Alex ‘Bongo’ Lang, were found guilty of accepting money to ‘play dead’ and suspended from the League for five years.

  • Publications


    2020. Tony Joel and Mathew Turner, On The Take: The 1910 Scandal that Changed Football Forever, (Slattery Media Group).

    2013 [2020]. Tony Joel, The Dresden Firebombing: Memory and the Politics of Commemorating Destruction, (I.B.Tauris/Bloomsbury).

    2013. Tony Joel and David Lowe, Remembering the Cold War: Global Contest and National Stories, (Routledge).


    Book chapters and journal articles

    2019. Mathew Turner, Tony Joel, and David Lowe, ‘”Between Politics and Scholarship”: The First Decade of the Institut für Zeitgeschichte, 1949-1958’European History Quarterly, vol. 49, 250-271.

    2018. Tony Joel, Mathew Turner, and Col Hutchinson, ‘”Playing Dead” and Killing Off Amateurism: Bribery Scandals, Illegal Playing Payments, Rule Expunging, and the Victorian Football League’s Authorization of Professionalism in 1911’, International Journal of the History of Sport, vol. 35, 173-195. Also published, in 2020, in Mike Huggins and Rob Hess (eds), Match-Fixing and Sport: Historical Perspectives, (Routledge).

    2018. Tony Joel, Donna-Lee Frieze, and Mathew Turner, ‘Educational Bridges to the Intangible: An Australian Perspective to Teaching and Learning about the Holocaust’, in Andy Pearce (ed.), Remembering the Holocaust in Educational Settings, (Routledge).

    2012. Tony Joel, ‘Reconstruction Over Ruins: Rebuilding Dresden’s Frauenkirche’, in Martin Gegner and Bart Ziino (eds), The Heritage of War (Routledge).

    2007. Roy Hay and Tony Joel, ‘Football’s World Cup and Its Fans – Reflections on National Styles: A Photo Essay on Germany 2006’, Soccer & Society, vol. 8, 1-32.

  • Teaching

    Over the past 15 years, Tony has taught extensively across the History major at Deakin from foundational first-year units through to advanced level offerings including the capstone unit Making History. Previous themes he has taught include twentieth-century world history, the Cold War, and Europe in the age of ideologies. Tony has chaired The Holocaust for the past decade, during which time this remarkably popular unit has attracted over 300 students per year. He also chairs the wholly online unit Sport in History, which runs over summer during Trimester 3 and attracts large numbers of elective students from across the whole University. From 2021, Tony will team up with Bart Ziino to teach the new unit A History of Australian Football, 1858-2020, which represents the first time any university has offered a unit dedicated to this subject. Tony and his fellow Tiger Bart insist they will try hard not to devote too much time to discussing Richmond’s recent three-premiership ‘Dimmasty’ (but they can’t make any promises). Besides forming part of the History major, this new offering focusing on Australian football history and Tony’s more general unit on sports history both feature as core parts of the BA’s Sport and Society minor sequence.

    Tony’s influence in learning and teaching has stretched well beyond his own History units. He served as Associate Head of School (Teaching and Learning) for Humanities and Social Sciences for three years (2013-15) and as Course Director for the A300 Bachelor of Arts and accompanying suite of combined degrees for three years (2015-17).

  • Supervision

    Tony enjoys supervising projects on any aspect of modern German history, the Holocaust, the politics of war memory and commemoration, or sports history. Please see below for a list of current and previous topics that Tony has supervised at Honours, Masters, and PhD level.


    PhD and Masters

    Current. Emma Parker (PhD, co-supervising with David Lowe and Pam Maclean). Working title, Gottfried Helnwein’s Provocation of Austrian Memories of the Nazi Past (completion date May 2021).

    Current. Hirokazu Matsui (PhD, co-supervising with David Lowe). Working title, Australian Foreign Policy towards Japan’s Changing International Status: From a Former Enemy to an Economic Power (completion date July 2023).

    Current. Dr John Rose (Masters, co-supervising with Bart Ziino). Working title, Cartophily, Consumerism, and Celebrity: An Exploration of the Nexus between Trading and Cigarette Cards as a Marketing Strategy and the Developing Celebrity Status of Australian Rules Footballers (completion date July 2022).

    2018. Lisa Couacaud (PhD, co-supervised with David Lowe). The Ideal America(n): Dwight Eisenhower’s Elusive Search. (Lisa is a policy officer in the Strategic Policy Section of the Policy Analysis and Implementation Division of the federal government’s Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.)

    2016. Mathew Turner (PhD, co-supervised with David Lowe and Pam Maclean). Experts’ History: The Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial and Anatomie des SS-Staates. (Mat’s thesis formed the basis of his first book, published in 2018 by I.B.Tauris/Bloomsbury and entitled Historians at the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial: Their Role as Expert Witnesses.)

    2016. Sarah Coates (PhD, co-supervised with David Lowe and Pam Maclean). Belsen, Dachau, 1945: Newspapers and the First Draft of History. (Sarah has established a career at Gordon Legal, Melbourne.)



    2020. Anthony ‘AJ’ Brady. Saving League Football: How the VFL was Rescued and Became the AFL.

    2019. Mitchell Gavin. Origins of a Dynasty: The Beginning of the Collingwood Football Club from 1892-1902. (Mitch intends on pursuing a career as a secondary school history teacher.)

    2019. Paul Hunt. For the Empire: The Origins of Soccer in Tasmania prior to 1915.

    2018. Corene Flecken. Bitburg and Yasukuni: The Politics of Commemorating War in 1985.

    2017. Emma Parker. Art against Amnesia: Beckermann, Helnwein and Their Artistic Representation of Austria’s Nazi Past. (Em completed Honours at Deakin while living in Austria. She accepted a scholarship offer to pursue a PhD — again at Deakin while still based in Austria.)

    2017. Angus McCallum. The Impact of North Melbourne Football Club’s Professionalisation, 1968-78. (Gus is currently completing a PhD at Deakin.)

    2016. Madeleine Pick. Cracking the Code: Exploring the Nuremberg Doctors Trial and Underrated Influence of the Nuremberg Code.

    2014. Paige Mahoney. ‘Hypothetical Fact’: Women’s Resistance in German-Occupied Trieste (1943-1945) through Gender, Memory, and Historical Fiction. (Paige won the Vice Chancellor’s Award for the highest Honours mark in the Faculty of Arts and Education. She is currently a research fellow based at Deakin’s CRADLE.)

    2014. Lisa Couacaud. Eisenhower in Electioneering Mode: Spirituality, Peace, Freedom, Integrity. (Lisa was one of two joint winners of the Renee Erdos Memorial Prize for best thesis by an off-campus student in the Faculty of Arts and Education, and accepted a scholarship to undertake a PhD.)

    2014. Celeste Thorn. Treblinka Today: Archaeology and the Implications for Historical Knowledge and Understanding. (Celeste was one of two joint winners of the Renee Erdos Memorial Prize for best thesis by an off-campus student in the Faculty of Arts and Education.)

    2014. Stephen Robertson. Ohlendorf, Eichmann and Demjanjuk: Holocaust Perpetrator Testimony as Historical Evidence. (Steve subsequently pursued further studies and established a career as a secondary school history educator.)

    2011. Sarah Coates. Supporters, Bystanders, and Opponents: Germans and Jewish Persecution, 1933-1938. (Sarah accepted an offer for a scholarship to undertake a PhD.)


  • Awards, fellowships, and honours

    2016. Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT), Australian Government’s Department of Education and Training. Award for Teaching Excellence in the Humanities and the Arts.

    • Through a rich blend of authentic learning activities, Dr Tony Joel motivates and inspires history students to develop their knowledge and understanding of how the past continues to shape the world in which we live. He arranges imaginative and engaging learning opportunities that invite students to engage with the ‘living past’, through site visits, video, and online learning environments. Tony draws on his discipline expertise, international field research, and advanced interactive media strategies to build curricula and resources that foster enquiry-based learning. His inventive assessments encourage students to learn and apply transferable skills directly linked to the university’s designated graduate learning outcomes.

    2012. Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) Australian Awards for University Teaching. Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning, ‘for creating challenging learning environments that motivate and inspire History students to explore how the past continues to shape the world in which we live’.

    • Tony embodies the qualities of a great History educator. Passionate, energetic, engaging, and supportive, Tony is absolutely committed to communicating his enthusiasm for History to students. He creates challenging learning environments by developing interactive media strategies, promoting the teaching-research nexus, and fostering student-driven learning. Tony inspires History students to use their naturally inquisitive minds to make sense of the past as a way of enriching their understanding of the contemporary world around them.

    2011. Deakin University Award for Teaching Excellence, Vice Chancellor’s Prizes and Awards.

    2010. Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence, Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University.

    2005-06. German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, DAAD) research scholarship.

  • Media and public events

    Tony has been a guest speaker/lecturer at a number of schools in Geelong and Melbourne. He also has acted as MC or panel chair for several public events focused on various aspects of history.

    Tony has been interviewed for newspaper articles, and his most recent radio engagements are:

Australian Policy
 and History

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