The University of Western Australia

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Jane Lydon

Professor Jane Lydon

Wesfarmers Chair in Australian History

Contact details
The University of Western Australia (M208)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 2131
Room 1.19, Arts Building, Crawley campus
My research centres upon Australia’s colonial past and its legacies in the present. I am interested in the ways that popular and especially visual culture has shaped ideas and debates about race, identity and culture that persist today. In particular, I am concerned with the history of Australia’s engagement with anti-slavery, humanitarianism, and ultimately human rights. I am exploring the social and political impact of emotions aroused by visual imagery, including their application in evoking antislavery discourse, in visualizing violence on the colonial frontier, and through magic lantern performances aiming to prompt social reform.
Key research
Cultural history of human rights, humanitarianism and empire
Australian colonial visual cultures
Cross-cultural history and its legacies
Heritage: the colonial past in the present
ARC Discovery (DP160102509, 2016-2018) ‘Heritage in the Limelight: the magic lantern in Australia and the world.’

2018 (ed.) Visualising Human Rights. UWAP, Perth.

2018 (co-editor with Lyndall Ryan) Remembering the Myall Creek Massacre. NewSouth Books, Sydney.

2016 Photography, Humanitarianism, Empire. Bloomsbury, London.

2014 (editor) Calling the Shots: Aboriginal Photographies. Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra.

2014 (co-editor with Jane Carey) Indigenous Networks: Transnational Mobility, Connections and Exchange. Routledge Studies in Cultural History, New York.

2012 The Flash of Recognition: Photography and the emergence of Indigenous rights. NewSouth Books, Sydney.

Book chapters

(in press) ‘George Hamilton, the Bold and Dashing Bushman: Mythologising South Australian Colonisation’, in Paul Sendziuk (ed.), Foundational Fictions, Wakefield Press, 2018.

(In press) ‘Popularising Anthropology: Elsie Masson and Baldwin Spencer’, in Lynette Russell and Leigh Boucher (eds) The British Association for the Advancement of Science: Anthropology and Historical Legacies. (Accepted June 2016)

(In press) ‘Fantasy Islands: Photography, Empathy, and Australia’s Detention Archipelago.’ Photography and Migration, ed. Tanya Sheehan (Routledge. Accepted November 2016).

(In press) ‘Postcolonial Societies: Australia’ in Gil Pasternak (ed), The Handbook of Photography Studies, London: Bloomsbury Publishing. (accepted 5 January 2016).

2018 ‘“Visual history at its best!”: UNESCO’s 1951 Human Rights Exhibition in Australia’, in Gareth Griffiths and Philip Mead (eds), The social work of narrative: human rights and the literary imaginary. Ibidem-Verlag.

2018 ‘Visualising Human Rights’ in J.Lydon (ed.) Visualising Human Rights (UWAP).

2018 (with Lyndall Ryan) ‘Remembering Myall Creek’, In Jane Lydon and Lyndall Ryan (eds) Remembering the Myall Creek Massacre, NewSouth Books, 2018.

2018 ‘Picturing the 1838 Myall Creek Massacre Across the Empire’, In Jane Lydon and Lyndall Ryan (eds) Remembering the Myall Creek Massacre, NewSouth Books, 2018.

2017 ‘Photography and History’ in Kirsty Reid and Fiona Paisley (eds) Approaching the Imperial Archive: Sources and Methods in Histories of Colonialism, Routledge Studies in Cultural History, New York, pp. 13-31.

2017 ‘Aboriginal transformations of the photographic archive’, in Ian McLean and Darren Jorgensen (eds) The Archival Turn in Australian Aboriginal Art, UWA Publishing, pp. 362-382.

2017 ‘Charity Begins at Home? Philanthropy, Compassion, and Magic Lantern Slide Performances in Australasia, 1891-1892’, Early Popular Visual Culture, 15(4): 479-499.

2017 ‘Pity, Love, or Justice? Seeing 1830s Australian Colonial Violence,’ Emotions: History, Culture, Society 1(2): 109-130.

2017 ‘‘Little Gunshots, but with the blaze of lightning’: Xavier Herbert, Visuality, and the violation of human rights. In Xavier Herbert: Forgotten or Repressed? Special Issue Cultural Studies Review. Vol. 23, No. 2: 87-105.

2017 ‘Antislavery in Australia: Picturing the 1838 Myall Creek Massacre’, History Compass. 15/5 2017:e12330, 10.1111/hic3.12330
UWA 2015-17 Coordinator:
•Looking for Australia (HIST2015)
•Thinking History (HIST2007)
•Eyewitness to the Past (HIST3016).
Current external positions
•Council, Australian Academy of the Humanities, (2016-2019)
•Advisory Board, Limina: A Journal of Historical and Cultural Studies. Postgraduate-run. (2016-)
•Advisory Panel, The Conversation, Arts and Culture (2016-)
•Council, National Trust of Australia (Western Australia) (2016-)
•International Reference Group, Negotiating History, major research project on Sámi photography, the University of Bergen, Norway. (2013-2017)
•Advisory Board, Anthem Press, Series in Australian History (and General Advisory Board in Australian Studies) (2015-)
•Advisory Board, Bloomsbury Publishing Handbook Series, The Handbook of Photography Studies, Gil Pasternak (ed), London: Bloomsbury Publishing. (2015-)
•Editorial Board, History of Photography (2016-2018)
•Editorial Board, Cultural Studies Review (2013-)
•Editorial Board, Australasian Historical Archaeology
•Editorial Board, Journal of the Anthropological Society of South Australia
•Western Australian Representative, Australian Women's History Network (2013-)
Useful links
Follow me on
New and noteworthy
Returning Photographs
In November 2015 the ARC-funded project 'Returning Photos: Australian Aboriginal Photographs from European Collections' (DP110100278) launched a new website to connect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities with photographs collected by four major European museums: the University of Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum, the Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Musée de Quai Branly in Paris, and the Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen (National Museum of World Cultures) in Leiden, the Netherlands. The website also publishes a range of essays and blog posts linked to this project.

Research profile
Research profile and publications

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Last updated:
Tuesday, 3 November, 2015 2:39 PM