Susie Protschky - a specialist in the area of colonialism and visual culture - is the 2018 Tholenaar van Raalte fellow.
Susie Protschky is Senior Lecturer in Modern History at Monash University (Melbourne, Australia). In 2017, she commenced an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant to research the history of ‘Disaster, human suffering and colonial photography’. In 2018, she will be the Tholenaar van Raalte Fellow in Photography at the RCMC for two months. Susie will use NMVW collections to trace how the ‘scientific’ view of ‘natural’ disaster and the ‘humanitarian’ image of suffering in conflict and catastrophe interacted and evolved, from the era of nineteenth-century studio photography to the twentieth-century age of mass photography. She will also investigate continuity and change in visual representations of post-colonial Dutch development aid projects.
Susie is a historian of photography and visual culture in the Dutch colonial world, particularly the Netherlands East Indies/colonial Indonesia. Her books and other publications have examined representations of ‘the tropics’, ‘modernity’ in colonial Indonesia, and how photography was used to mediate relations between Dutch authorities, monarchy and colonised people in the twentieth century. Her work is particularly concerned with the networks and activities of amateur and local photographers in colonial Indonesia and their contribution to transnational visual cultures.
Together with curators of Indonesian and photographic collections at the NMVW, Susie will investigate how archives and museum collections articulate what we can know about past disasters through material culture (including photographs, particularly in the pre-digital era), and the ‘afterlives’ of photographs that (re-)circulate beyond their initial audiences for new purposes.
As part of her fellowship, Susie wrote a three-part blog. Read the entries here:
Part One | Searching for Indonesian Histories of Disaster in Photography
Part Two | ‘Not for the public – human remains’: Decolonising disaster in the museum.
Part Three | Who is the intrepid explorer here? Indonesians living with disaster.