Steven Anderson

Dr Steven Anderson

School of Humanities

Faculty of Arts


Dr Steven Anderson is a historian who explores the role of capital punishment in the Australian colonies by situating developments in these jurisdictions within global contexts and conceptual debates. His scholarship intersects with a variety of different sub-fields – cultural studies, histories of crime and punishment, the history of emotions, the history of violence, and the sociology of penal change.

My research is primarily concerned with the history of capital punishment in colonial Australia. My work has appeared in peer-reviewed academic journals (i.e. Aboriginal History and The Journal of Australian Colonial History) and in an edited collection of essays. My PhD (conferred in 2016) looked at the abolition of public executions across Australia and was awarded the Dean’s Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence as well as being ‘Highly Commended’ for the Australian Historical Association’s biennial Serle Award. My first book is under contract with Palgrave Macmillan in the UK.

I have an ongoing commitment to broadening interest in history outside of the academy. I have given extended interviews about historical topics to national television audiences (ABCTV) and on local radio stations (FIVEaa and ABC891). I have also given public lectures and talks at the National Library of Australia, Adelaide City Library and at events facilitated by the History Trust of South Australia (such as their ‘Talking History’ series and for ‘History Month’). I have also acted as Adelaide Libraries’ ‘Historian in Residence’ where I established and administered a community history program aimed at collecting photographs and recollections from members of the general public.

I have been awarded the following prizes and awards for my research:

Serle Award (Highly Commended, 2018):
The Australian Historical Association's biennial prize given to the best postgraduate thesis in Australian history.

Emerging Historian Award (2018):
Awarded by the History Council of South Australia to someone involved in history or heritage activities for 10 years or less who has displayed outstanding achievements in teaching, research, writing or presentation, and/or raising community awareness of particular historical issues.

Dean’s Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence (2016): A prize awarded by the Dean of Graduate Studies at The University of Adelaide for a PhD thesis of outstanding quality - indicated as such by both examiners.

Ken Inglis Prize (Runner Up, 2014): A prize organised by the Editorial Board of Australian Historical Studies for the best paper presented by a postgraduate at the annual Australian Historical Association conference.

Lynda Tapp Prize in Honours History (2010): For the best thesis submitted at The University of Adelaide at Honours level.

Tinline Scholarship for History (2010): Awarded to the student who achieves the highest overall result in the History Honours program at The University of Adelaide.

George Cockburn Henderson History Prize (2008): For the best essay in an advanced level history course at the University of Adelaide.

The Wakefield Companion to South Australian History Prize (2008): For the best essay by an Undergraduate or Honours student for a topic relating to South Australia.

I have attracted funding from various institutions to conduct research including a six-week residency at the National Library of Australia in Canberra through their Norman McCann Scholarship program. I have also received stipends to present my research to academic conferences at The University of Sydney and The University of Adelaide.

‘Interdisciplinary Approaches to Law, History and the Emotions’ PATS Bursary (2016): A competitive bursary to attend the Postgraduate Advanced Training Seminar (PATS) at the 'Emotions in Legal Practices' conference held at the University of Sydney in 2016.

National Library of Australia’s Norman McCann Summer Scholarship (2013): A six-week scholarship with the National Library of Australia in Canberra with privileged access to the collections and staff expertise. 

Humanities and Social Sciences Publication Award Scheme (2012): A financial reward for postgraduates at The University of Adelaide who have published a journal article.

Australian Historical Association/Copyright Agency Limited Travel and Writing Bursary (2012): A competitive bursary to attend the Australian Historical Association’s Annual Conference.

Australian Postgraduate Award (2011-2015): A Commonwealth Government financial award to complete higher degree research at an Australian university.

Since 2013 I have lectured, convened, and/or tutored in a variety of university-level history courses. In student evaluations of my teaching I am frequently complimented on my approachable style, clear explanations, and ability to engage all students in class discussions. In 2018 and 2019 I served on the School of Humanities’ Learning and Teaching Committee as the History Department’s Representative. In 2019 I won the Faculty of Arts Prize for Excellence in Teaching and was made a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK) in recognition of my skills as a tertiary educator.

I have experience teaching in the following areas:

As Lecturer/Course Coordinator:

The University of Adelaide: A History of Crime and Punishment in Europe and England (Level 2), Empires in World History (Level 1), Protecting the Peace: Modern Histories of Peacekeeping (Level 2).

Flinders University: Creating a Nation: A Brief History of Australia to 1939 (Level 1).

As Tutor: In addition to the courses that I have coordinated, I have tutored in Australia and the World (Level 2) and Colonial Australia: Conflict and Consensus (Level 2).

As a Supervisor/Mentor: History Honours, Arts Internship, Bachelor of Arts (Advanced).


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