Disaster, human suffering and colonial photography

This project aims to investigate how photography shaped modern understandings of disaster. During the period modern European empires were at their most expansive, they became increasingly interventionist in indigenous environments and societies. The project will use rich but largely neglected sources from colonial Indonesia (c.1840-1950) to study how images of human suffering in different disaster contexts evolved since the invention of photography. Understanding how and why European expansion shaped modern ideas about disasters, and how photography has developed to communicate human suffering, is expected to benefit community and scholarly awareness of environmental disaster, war and their effects.

Australian Research Council Discovery Project

Susie Protschky
History, School of Philosophical, Historical & International Studies
2016-2019