Dr Susie Protschky

Susie Protschky is a Senior Lecturer in Modern History. She researches on colonialism, cultural history and visual culture, with a special focus on photography. The Dutch empire in the modern era is her field, particularly the Netherlands East Indies (colonial Indonesia).

Susie obtained her PhD in History from the University of New South Wales in 2007, and recently held an Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (ARC APD) (2010-2015).  The project focused on photography, monarchy and empire in the East Indies, with additional ventures into Afrikaner culture in South Africa, and the significance of the Dutch Queen Wilhelmina for colonial adherents to the liberal reform program known as the ‘Ethical Policy’ (c. 1900 – 1942).

Her next project, ‘Developing the family’, is a social and cultural history of family photography, from the invention of photographic techniques in 1839 to the present day. It traces the trajectories of high imperialism, war and decolonisation, diaspora and post-colonialism, using archives from the former Dutch East Indies, the Netherlands, and Australia. How have ordinary people with a camera placed themselves within larger, global narratives of continuity and change, and in the process, defined and challenged what it is to be a ‘family’?



images-of-the-tropicsSusie 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. The book 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.

For a sample chapter and supplier information, visit Brill or KITLV Press.

New volume

Cover_Photography, Modernity and the Governed

Susie Protschky (ed.), Photography, Modernity and the Governed in Late-Colonial Indonesia (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2015).

The essays in this volume examine, from a historical perspective, how contested notions of modernity, civilization, and being governed were envisioned through photography in early twentieth-century Indonesia, a period when the Dutch colonial regime was implementing a liberal reform program known as the Ethical Policy. The contributors reveal how the camera evoked diverse, often contradictory modes of envisioning an ethically governed colony, one in which the very concepts of modernity and civilization were subject to dispute.

For further information, and to order a copy, visit Amsterdam University Press.

Forthcoming essays

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Susie Protschky, ‘Photography and the making of a popular, colonial monarchy in the Netherlands East Indies during Queen Wilhelmina’s reign (1898–1948)’, BMGN (Low Countries Historical Review), in press.


Susie Protschky, ‘Orangists in a red empire: Salutations from a Dutch queen’s supporters in a British South Africa’ in Robert Aldrich and Cindy McCreery (eds), Crowns and Colonies: Monarchies and Empires (Manchester University Press, ‘Studies in Imperialism’ Series).