Profile image of Alexandra Roginski

Dr Alexandra Roginski





Faculty of Arts and Education


Alfred Deakin Institute


Melbourne Burwood Campus


Doctor of Philosophy, Australian National University, 2019


Biography summary

Dr Alexandra Roginski is a research fellow with the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation. Her work spans the history of science, anthropology and heritage studies, and she completed her PhD through the ANU in 2018 with a thesis examining the history of popular phrenology in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.

She is the author of The Hanged Man and the Body Thief: Finding Lives in a Museum Mystery (Monash University Publishing, 2015), a book examining the lives of a young Aboriginal man whose remains ended up as part of the collection of Museum Victoria and the Scottish phrenologist who collected him. 

With a former career in journalism, publishing and communiations, Alex is passionate about public scholarship. She has contributed to publications including The Age and the Australian Book Review, written and presented a podcast segment for My Marvellous Melbourne, appeared on ABC radio, and delivered public lectures at the National Portrait Gallery and Museum Victoria. 

Research interests

History of science

Science and technology studies

Cultural heritage


Australian history

Knowledge areas

History of Science and Medicine

History of Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand

Intercultural Histories

Cultural heritage Studies



‘Saying “Yes” to Public Medicine: Rules of consent in nineteenth-century popular science’, Positioning the Politics of Consent in Law and History (symposium), University of Technology, Sydney, 7–8 November 2019.

‘Somatic histories, stolen remains and contemporary Indigenous art in the settler-colonial state’, Deakin Cultural Heritage Seminar Series, 30 October 2019.

‘Strategy on Stage: Indigenous Performers in Nineteenth-Century Mesmerism', Making Public Histories Seminar Series for Naidoc Week, History Council of Victoria, 10 July 2018.

‘Socialism in Space: Joseph Fraser’s life between two planets’, Australian Historical Association Conference, Canberra, 3 July 2018.

‘New Ways with Old Transgressions: Remaking Histories in Postcolonial Australia’, Cambridge Arts and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Training Program Conference, Cambridge University, 18–20 September 2017.

‘Science in their Hands: Indigenous Engagement with Popular Phrenology in the Mid-to-late Nineteenth Century’, Australian Historical Association Conference, Newcastle, 3–7 July 2017.

‘A Show of Science: Skulls, Sketches and Head Charts in Australian Popular Phrenology’, Anatomy of the Image Conference, Monash University, Thursday 16 February 2017.

‘Coming home to whose place? Indigeneity, autochthony and belonging in the Hunter Valley’, Conference of the Integrative Graduate Humanities Education and Training Program, Giessen (Germany), 15 November 2016.

‘Black Douglas Reads Bumps: Finding Phrenologists in Unexpected Skins’, Australian Historical Association Conference, Ballarat, Tuesday 5 July 2016.

‘Popular Phrenology and Lantern Magic: Aboriginal Responses to Race Science at a Murray River Mission’, Australian Historical Association Conference, Sydney, Thursday 9 July 2015.

‘Searching for Jim Crow’, Museum Victoria Lunchtime Seminar Series, Melbourne, Wednesday 11 June 2014.

Media appearances

Review of ‘Sludge: Disaster on Victoria’s Goldfields’ by Peter Davies and Susan Lawrence, Australian Book Review, October 2019.

Review of ‘Empire of Enchantment: The Story of Indian Magic’ by John Zubrzycki, Australian Book Review, January 2019.

‘Sibly Irresistible’, Portrait: Magazine of Australian and International Portraiture, Summer 2018/2019.

Interview with Genevieve Jacobs, ABC666 Canberra, 1 September 2015.

Interview for The Grapevine, 3RRR, 24 August 2015.

Interview with ABC Gold Coast, 30 July 2015.

‘The Phrenologist’s Skull’, The Body Sphere, ABC RN, July 2015.

Interview with Paul Bevan, ABC1233 Newcastle, 3 July 2015.

Interview for PM, ABC RN, 29 June 2015.

Research groups

Heritage & Indigeneity Research Stream, Alfred Deakin Institute


Australian Historical Association Jill Roe Prize (2018)

Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Student Prize, Finalist (2015)

Ian Turner Memorial Prize for Best Thesis, History Program, Monash University (2013)

Museum Victoria 1854 Student Scholarship (2013)


Filter by


Craniometry and Indigenous Repatriation

C Fforde, A Roginski, A Goodman, P Turnbull, H Howes

(2023), pp. 74-101, Repatriation, Science and Identity, London, Eng., B1

book chapter

Ancestors Now: DNA Technologies, Identity and the Repatriation of Indigenous Ancestral Remains

A Roginski, C Fforde

(2023), pp. 210-233, Repatriation, Science and Identity, London, Eng., B1

book chapter

The Body as Evidence of Truth: Biomedicine and Enduring Narratives of Religious and Spiritual Healing

A Roginski, C Rocha

(2022), Vol. 35, pp. 168-191, Journal for the Academic Study of Religion, Sheffield, Eng., C1

journal article

The Artist as Pemulwuy: Somatic Histories, Stolen Remains and Contemporary Indigenous Art

A Roginski

(2021), Vol. 45, pp. 471-490, Journal of Australian Studies, C1

journal article

Two eagles and Jim Crow: Reburial and history-making in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales

Alexandra Roginski

(2020), pp. 1-23, The Routledge Companion to Indigenous Repatriation: Return, Reconcile, Renew, London, Eng., B1

book chapter

Talking heads on a Murray River mission: phrenological lecturers and their Aboriginal receptions decoded

A Roginski

(2019), Vol. 16, pp. 714-732, History Australia, Abingdon, Eng., C1

journal article

Funded Projects at Deakin

Other Public Sector Funding

Between Pleasure and Productivity: A History of Self-improvement from Phrenology to Physical Culture

Dr Alexandra Roginski

State Library NSW Fellowship

  • 2021: $20,000

Industry and Other Funding

Conspirituality' and science in Australia: Material and Digital Practices, Activism and Risks

A/Prof Anna Halafoff, Prof Cristina Rocha, Prof Andrew Singleton, Dr Alexandra Roginski, Dr Enqi Weng

International Research Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society Research Grant

  • 2021: $26,172


No completed student supervisions to report