Susie Protschky is a Lecturer in Modern History at Monash University, specialising in the Netherlands Indies (colonial Indonesia), with a special focus on visual culture and photography. She currently holds an Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (ARC APD) (2010-2015). She also coordinates the Honours Program in International Studies at Monash.
Susie obtained her PhD in History from the University of New South Wales (2007), and a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours in Economic History from the University of Sydney (2001).
Susie Protschky, Images of the Tropics: Environment and Visual Culture in Colonial Indonesia (Leiden: KITLV Press/Brill, 2011).
Images of the Tropics critically examines Dutch colonial culture in the Netherlands Indies through the prism of landscape art. Susie Protschky contends that visual representations of nature and landscape were core elements of how Europeans understood the tropics, justified their territorial claims in the region, and understood their place both in imperial Europe and in colonized Asia during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Her book thus makes a significant contribution to studies of empire, art and environment, as well as to histories of Indonesia and Europe.
Paul Bijl, Amsterdam University (2012): ‘This book is necessary reading for scholars working on colonial visual culture and colonial history of Indonesia.’ [http://www.bmgn-lchr.nl/index.php/bmgn/article/view/URN:NBN:NL:UI:10-1-109833]
Martijn Eickhoff, NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Amsterdam (2013): ‘Images of the tropics by Susie Protschky offers an innovative analysis of … representations of nature and landscape in colonial Indonesia made from the start of the nineteenth century until the end of Dutch colonialism …’ [ http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/10.1163/22134379-12340013?showFullText=pdf]
Camera Ethica: Photography, Modernity and the Governed of Late-Colonial Indonesia (Amsterdam University Press, in press).
With essays by Susie Protschky, Jean Gelman Taylor, Karen Strassler, Rudolf Mrázek, Henk Schulte Nordholt, Pamela Pattynama, Joost Coté, Paul Bijl.
This collection entails a significant new study of the period encompassed by the Ethical Policy (c. 1900–1942), a program of welfare, education and infrastructural reform initiated by the Dutch colonial administration of the Netherlands Indies (now the Republic of Indonesia). The Ethical Policy has received little attention beyond the specialist literature on Dutch imperialism, despite its resonance with French notions of a colonial ‘civilising mission’ and British concepts of the ‘white man’s burden’. This book will be the first English-language study of the policy, and the first to examine ‘ethical’ ways of seeing through the lens of the camera, an instrument that was embraced with enthusiasm by a range of social classes and ethnic groups in late-colonial Indonesia. In doing so, these essays shed new light on historical understandings of debates that were conducted in images about Indonesian modernities, civilisation and being governed in the early twentieth century.
Jane Lydon, University of Western Australia, author of The Flash of Recognition: Photography and the Emergence of Indigenous Rights (2012):
‘This collection will be an important and timely contribution to a range of disciplines, including history and visual studies, in revealing the fascinating history of the twentieth century Ethical Period in the colony of Indonesia through the camera’s lens. This key period in colonial relations in a nation that remains central to present-day politics in south-east Asia and the Pacific region will be relevant to many readerships. …
The book will also make a significant contribution to a major emerging project within visual studies and photo-theory – to examine the ways that photos were used, rather than merely what they meant, as signs.’