Susie Protschky


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Personal profile


I am a Senior Lecturer in Modern History. I research on colonialism and global visual cultures, with a special focus on photography. I work on conflict and disaster, citizenship and community in nineteenth and twentieth century forms of empire. My main focus is modern Dutch imperialism in Indonesia, but I have also published research on southern Africa, Brazil, and early modern European expansion.

In 2007 I received my PhD in History from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney. I have been at Monash since 2010, and before that, was at the University of Western Australia (Perth) for two years.


Major research projects

My current major research project is ‘Disaster, Human Suffering and Colonial Photography’, funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (DP170100948, 2017–19).  It traces how photography helped develop modern notions of environmental disaster and armed conflict in the first century or so after the invention of photography (c. 1840s–1950). See a recent talk on part of this project here, and the publication here.

I recently held two fellowships in the Netherlands to support this project. In 2018 I was the Tholenaar van Raalte Fellow in Photography at the Research Centre for Material Culture, and a Brill Fellow at the Scaliger Institute, Leiden University Library.


A second field of research expertise is on monarchy and modern forms of empire, for which I have also received Australian Research Council funding (an ARC APD, 2010–15). The major outcome is my second monograph, Photographic Subjects: Monarchy, Photography and the Dutch East Indies(Manchester University Press ‘Studies in Imperialism’, 2019). I have also publised on monarchy and Afrikaner politics in South Africa, the significance of the Dutch Queen Wilhelmina for colonial adherents to the liberal reform program known as the ‘Ethical Policy’ (c. 1900–1942), and diplomatic encounters between Indonesian and Dutch royals.

A third field I work in is twentieth-century understandings of ‘modernity’, more specifically, charting continuity and change in the transition from pre-World War Two empires to the post-colonial present. Recent outcomes include my edited book with Tom van den Berge (KITLV, Netherlands), Modern Times in Southeast Asia, 1920s­–1970s (Brill, 2018), and my sole-edited volume, Photography, Modernity and the Governed in Late-Colonial Indonesia(Amsterdam University Press, 2015).

For a full list of publications, hit the ‘Research Output’ tab, above.

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2010 2019

Gender, power and identity in the early modern Nassau family

Protschky, S., Broomhall, S., Van Gent, J. & Hohkamp, M.

Australian Research Council (ARC)


Project: Research

Research Output 2008 2018

Modern times in Southeast Asia, 1920s-1970s

Protschky, S., 2018, Modern times in Southeast Asia, 1920s-1970s. Protschky, S. & van den Berge, T. (eds.). Leiden The Netherlands: Brill, p. 1-14 14 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Otherpeer-review

Modern Times in Southeast Asia, 1920s-1970s

Protschky, S. (ed.) & van den Berge, T. (ed.), 2018, Leiden The Netherlands: Brill. 214 p.

Research output: Book/ReportEdited BookOtherpeer-review

Soldiers as Humanitarians: Photographing War in Indonesia (1945-49)

Protschky, S., 2018, Visualising Human Rights. Lydon, J. (ed.). Crawley WA Australia: UWA Publishing, p. 39-62 26 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

Strained encounters: royal Indonesian visits to the Dutch could in early twentieth century

Protschky, S. & Protschky, S., 2018, Royals on tour: Politics, Pageantry and Colonialism. Aldrich, R. & McCreery, C. (eds.). Manchester UK: Manchester University Press, p. 233-249 17 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

Landscape painting in Indonesia: Continuity and change in President Sukarno's collection

Protschky, S., 2017, Charting Thoughts: Essays on Art in Southeast Asia. Sze Wee, L. & Flores, P. D. (eds.). Singapore: Penn State University Press, p. 164-174 10 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review