Jane Lydon

Professor, MA PhD ANU

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

    6009 Perth



Research output per year

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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

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

Blog: Happy WAnderer: exploring Western Australia's heritage

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

Coordinator in 2021: 

• Looking for Australia (HIST2015)

• Who do we think we are? Doing Family History (HIST1004)

• Thinking History (HIST2007)


Cultural history of human rights, humanitarianism and empire

Australian Legacies of British Slavery

Australian colonial visual cultures

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-)

• Advisory Board, Anthem Press, Series in Australian History (and General Advisory Board in Australian Studies) (2015-)

• Editorial Board, History of Photography (2016-2021)

• Editorial Board, Cultural Studies Review (2013-)

• Editorial Board, Australasian Historical Archaeology

• Editorial Board, Journal of the Anthropological Society of South Australia

Research expertise keywords

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

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Research Output

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

  • Imperial Emotions: The Politics of Empathy across the British Empire

    Lydon, J., Oct 2019, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 221 p. (Critical Perspectives on Empire)

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

  • 1 Citation (Scopus)

    ‘The best day for me, looking at these old photos’: Photography and Australian Indigenous Heritage

    Lydon, J., 2019, 3 p. Australia : Australian Museums and Galleries Association.

    Research output: Other contribution


    Envisaging Citizenship: Australian Histories and Global Connections

    Lydon, J., Nettelbeck, A., Miles, M. & Anderson, F.

    Australian Research Council


    Project: Research

    Western Australian Legacies of British Slavery

    Lydon, J., Martens, J., Arthur, P., Laidlaw, Z., Hall, C., McClelland, K. & Lester, A.

    Australian Research Council


    Project: Research

    Digital Stereotypes: Combatting Minority Stereotypes of Sexual and Gender Diverse Persons in Digital Search Images Online

    Lydon, J., Clarke, K., Abidin, C., Light, B., Aggleton, P., Albury, K., Marshall, D., Dobson, A., Robards, B., Botha, M., Sturm, J., Rasmussen, M. & Cover, R. I.

    University of Western Australia


    Project: Research


  • Fellow

    Lydon, Jane (Recipient), 2016

    Prize: Other distinction


    Lydon, Jane (Recipient), 2014

    Prize: Other distinction