Victoria Kuttainen is an Associate Professor of English and Writing in the College of Arts, Society and Education at James Cook University. She holds a BA Honours and Masters of Arts from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and earned a PhD in postcolonial literature at the University of Queensland.  In 2017, as part of her exploration of the nexus between secondary and tertiary English, she completed a Graduate Diploma of Education (Secondary) at James Cook University.

Her books include Unsettling Stories: Settler Postcolonialism and the Short Story Composite (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2010) and The Transported Imagination: Australian Interwar Magazines and the Geographical Imaginaries of Colonial Modernity (co-authored with Susann Liebich and Sarah Galletly, Cambria, 2018).

Dr Kuttainen is actively researching in three key areas: settler colonialism and the literature of colonial modernity; scholarship of learning and teaching; and creative writing/life writing as a mode of engaging public audiences with complex issues in the humanities. 

Settler colonialism, colonial modernity, and the literary cultures of the non-metropolitan world

Trained as a scholar of postcolonial literature, Victoria's primary focus in literary scholarship involves the intersections between geography, narrative form, and cultural identity. Her first book Unsettling Stories (Cambridge Scholars, 2010) considered the "short story composite" as a genre  well suited to expressing complex dynamics between the one and the many, individuals and communities, the present and the past, home and place, and cultural trauma and storytelling that take shape in the complicated aftermath of settler colonialism. 

This led to a second related area of investigation that culminated in the co-authored book The Transported Imagination (Cambria, 2018). Shifting focus to magazines and colonial modernity, this research extended Victoria's exploration of form and genre in these contexts. During this period, Dr Kuttainen was leader of a research team including postdoctoral scholar Dr Sarah Galletly (then at JCU now at University College Dublin) and Dr Susann Liebich, postdoctoral scholar at the Univesrity of Heidelberg's Karl Jaspers' Centre for Transcultural Studies.  Focusing on three important but under-examined culture and leisure magazines of interwar Australia--MAN, The Home, and The BP Magazine, this project considered the magazine as a useful format for analysing Australia's engagement with international modernity in the 1920s and 1930s. It reconceptualised the interwar period as a vibrant era of cultural production and the magazine as an important cultural artefact for understanding a dynamic and quickly changing culture prior to the development of a mature publishing industry in Australia. One of its principal concerns is with the ways in which Australian readers reoriented their relationship with England and directed their gaze across the Pacific to America in this era. This research made a significant contribution to the underresearched connection between modernism, modernity, and colonialism. It explores colonial modernity as a problematic involving changing orientations to geography, cultural value, and tradition.

Extending her interest in colonial modernity and cultural value, Dr Kuttainen is currently working with PhD student Jilly Lippmann engaging in research on the Modern Girl in the print cutlure of colonial modernity. Research in cultural history and media studies has revealed that flappers and bright young things were not merely artefacts of metropolitan American and British consumer culture of the interwar period, but also that they were a global phenomenon, present in diverse and far-flung locales such as China, Japan, Canada, and Australia. This research attempts to recover their presence in literature and print culture. It further considers their ambiguous relationship to commercial culture, modernity, globalism, mobility, literary value, and the projects of national and postcolonial literature. 

The themes that are woven throughout Dr Kuttainen's recent and emerging research include colonialism, modernism, and globalisation; vernacular modernity, world literature; imagined geographies; gender, media, and cultural value.

Kuttainen is curretly facilitating an international resaerch group: Planetary Material Modernisms, which brings planetary and postcolonial perspectives to bear on considerations of the material and print culture contexts of modernity.

Scholarship of Learning and Teaching

A faculty teaching citation winner, Victoria is a passionate teacher and self-reflexive scholar of teaching and learning.  Originally trained as a teacher of English as a Second Language, Victoria has long been interested in engagement, equity, and social justice, and in the transformative potential of education.

The topics she has investigated and continues to focus on include transition pedagogies; supporting diverse student learners; and equity of access and employability for regional students.

Since 2017 when she completed the Graduate Diploma in Education at JCU, she has been collaborating with a small group of like-minded scholars at JCU and beyond who are building relationships between secondary and tertiary education and seeking ways to engage the public with the humanities.

Creative Writing as Public Engagement with the Humanities

In 2019 Victoria was Writer in Residence at the Historic Joy Kogawa House in Vancouver.  Her creative work tests the hypothesis that creative writing can be a powerful way to explore complex ideas in humanities research and express their findings to the general public in a format that can make a difference for good.

The themes of Victoria's creative writing include migration, medical humanities, narratology, and grief.

  • BA1002: Our Space: Networks, Narrative and the Making of Place (Level 1; CNS)
  • EL2047: Children's Literature (Level 2; TSV)
  • EL2055: Literature, Print and Society in Comparative Contexts 1920-50 (Level 2; TSV)
  • EL3050: Postcolonial Narratives: Writing, Place, and Identity (Level 3; TSV)
  • Executive Director, Foundation for Australian Literary Studies; Queensland Rep. ASAL Association for the Study of Australian Literature; Judge, Colin Roderick Award 2015, 2016; Co-Editor LiNQ Literary Journal 2009-2017; Editorial Board: e-Tropic; Honorary Associate: Centre for Media History, Macquarie University; Australian Representative of ACCUTE Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English
  • Scholarship of Literature and Culture: postcolonial literature and settler colonialism; colonial modernity; modernism and modernity; interwar print culture; periodicals and magazines; literary taste-makers and repute; new media in early 20th c. contexts; the middlebrow; the Modern Girl; gender; the writer as public intellectual
  • Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: liberal arts education; transition pedagogy; student engagement; regional access and employability; differentiated teaching to support differentiated multi-level classes and diverse learners; developing cohort identity; the secondary-tertiary teaching nexus
  • Creative writing as a way to communicate complex ideas in the humanities to a general readership and to stimulate public engagement with and understanding of difficult and pressing social justice issues
  • Postcolonial Literature; Print Culture; Book History; Periodical Studies, Comparative Literature; Modernism
  • 2019 to present - Associate Professor, JCU
  • 2012 to present - Senior Lecturer, James Cook University (Townsville, Australia)
  • 2013 to 2018 - Margaret and Colin Roderick Scholar, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2009 to 2012 - Lecturer, James Cook University (Townsville, Australia)
  • 2008 - Lecturer, Bond University (Gold Coast, Australia)
  • 2003 to 2008 - PhD, University of Queensland (Brisbane, Australia)
  • 2007 - Lecturer, University of the Sunshine Coast (Sunshine Coast, Australia)
  • 2002 to 2003 - PhD Coursework, University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada)
  • 1999 to 2002 - Masters, University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada)
  • 1996 to 1999 - Teacher of English as a Foreign Language, Various (Taiwan, Vancouver)
  • 1991 to 1996 - BA Hons, University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada)
Research Disciplines
  • 2015 - Rising Star-Top Up Award
  • 2012 - Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning
  • 2012 - Townsville Arts Award
  • 2011 to 2012 - Rising Star Early Career Researcher Award, James Cook University
  • 2013 - Margaret and Colin Roderick Scholar of Comparative Literature
  • 2013 - Visiting Researcher, School of Humanities, Strathclyde University, Scotland
  • 2004 to 2008 - SSHRC Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship
  • 2003 to 2008 - University of Queensland International Postgraduate Research Scholarship
  • 2013 - Visiting Scholar, Menzies Centre and Department of English; King's College London

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU.

Journal Articles
Book Chapters

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 48+ research outputs authored by A/Prof Victoria Kuttainen from 2006 onwards.


Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • We are made with water: an ontological exploration of water in the Dry Tropics of Northern Queensland. (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • The Beautiful and Damned: Searching for the Flapper in Australian Print Culture 1920's - 1930's (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Running away, running towards: Isolation, identity, and the performance of gender in contemporary Australian Narrative (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Gendered Violence in the Tropical Pacific: The Use of Storytelling to Address Global Social Inequality (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • A Call to Art: Expressing the affective power of Art in times of emergency through historical, literary experience. (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Self-help as Literature: Literature as Self-help (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Topographical Texts: Connections Between Landscape, Movement, Materiality and Text in the Fiction of Patrick White, Gerald Murnane and Murray Bail (PhD , Primary Advisor)

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