Jane Lydon

Professor, MA PhD ANU

  • The University of Western Australia (M204), 35 Stirling Highway, Room 1.19, Arts Building, Crawley campus

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


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.

New and Noteworthy

Forthcoming talk 26 Sept 2019: 'Imperial Emotions: The Politics of Empathy'The Wood Memorial Lecture
A biennial lecture in Australian history at the University of Sydney.

Tjanara Goreng Goreng reviews Remembering the Myall Creek Massacre, edited by Jane Lydon & Lyndall Ryan

Conversation essay: Ten photos that changed how we see human rights

Returning Photos: Interview about Calling the Shots: Aboriginal Photographies, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, 2015.


Teaching overview

UWA 2018-19 Coordinator:
• Looking for Australia (HIST2015)
• Thinking History (HIST2007)
• Eyewitness to the Past (HIST3016).


Cultural history of human rights, humanitarianism and empire

Australian Legacies of British Slavery

Australian colonial visual cultures

Cross-cultural history and its legacies

Heritage: the colonial past in the present

(Associate Partner) ‘Digital Heritage in Cultural Conflicts’, JPICultural Heritage, Digital Heritage, Led by Prof Gil Pasternak, Photographic History Research Centre, De Montfort University, UK.(€550,000, 2018-2020)

CI, ARC Learned Academies Special Project ‘'The future humanities workforce’, (Australian Academy of the Humanities, $306,500, 2017-2019)

CI ARC Discovery ‘Heritage in the Limelight: the magic lantern in Australia and the world’, (DP160102509, 2016-2018)

Roles and responsibilities

• Editorial Board, Reviews Editor, Australian Historical Studies (2018-2020)

• Council, Australian Academy of the Humanities, (2016-2019)

• Advisory Board, Limina: A Journal of Historical and Cultural Studies. Postgraduate-run. (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-)


  • Australian History
  • Photography
  • Emotions
  • Visual Culture
  • Humanitarianism
  • Human Rights

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Jane Lydon is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

photography Social Sciences
empathy Social Sciences
narrative Social Sciences
history Social Sciences
human rights Social Sciences
philanthropy Social Sciences
beauty Social Sciences
Colonies Arts & Humanities

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1999 2019

British Slavery and Australian Colonisation

Lydon, J., 17 Jul 2019, The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism. Ness, I. & Cope, Z. (eds.). 2 ed. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 12 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapter


Feeling for the deep past: archaeological analogy and historical empathy

Lydon, J., 10 May 2019, In : Australian Archaeology. p. 2-14

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

documentary film

Imperial Emotions: The Politics of Empathy across the British Empire

Lydon, J., Oct 2019, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. (Critical Perspectives on Empire)

Research output: Book/ReportBook

British Empire
British Imperialism
Stolen Generation
Aboriginal Australians
Family History

Colonial 'Blind Spots': Images of Australian Frontier Conflict

Lydon, J., 10 Dec 2018, In : Journal of Australian Studies. 42, 4, p. 409-427 29 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Projects 2013 2019




Jane Lydon (Recipient), 2014

Prize: Other distinction


Jane Lydon (Recipient), 2016

Prize: Other distinction