Professor Susan Legêne

IP Leader
VU University Amsterdam
Faculty of Arts - History Department De Boelelaan 1105 (12A-29) 1081 HV Amsterdam The Netherlands
External Website Address: 

 Susan Legêne is professor of Political History at VU University, Faculty of Arts/History Department. Prior to this, she was head of the Curatorial Department of the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam. Her work focuses on the ways in which material and visual collections from the colonial past provide valuable sources to explore processes of cultural canon formation through past academic research traditions and exhibition practices. In this context, PhotoCLEC is also linked to her international research programme Sites, Bodies and Stories; the dynamics of heritage formation in colonial and postcolonial Indonesia and the Netherlands (2008-2013).


Research Interests: 

 Colonialism and processes of decolonization in relationship to nation building and (transnational) citizenship, both in Europe and in the once colonial countries.


2008. Collection policies and approaches   (2008-   2012) of the Tropenmuseum, With Koos van Brakel Amsterdam KIT Publishers (Bulletin


 2009. 'Dwinegeri -- Multiculturalism  and the Colonial past (or: The Cultural Borders of Being Dutch).' In: Benjamin Kaplan, Marybeth Carlson, Laura Cruz (eds.), Boundaries and their Meanings in the  History of the Netherlands. Leiden/Boston: Brill, pp. 223--242.

2008. ‘Flatirons and the Folds of History: On Archives, Cultural Heritage

and Colonial Legacies’ In Travelling Heritages: New Perspectives. Askant, pp 47-64.

2007. 'Mission Interrupted: Gender, History and   the Colonial Canon,' with Berteke Waaldijk,. In: M. Grever and S. Stuurman (eds), Beyond the Canon. History  for the Twenty-first Century. New York:Palgrave Macmillan,pp. 188-204. 

2007. ‘Enlightenment, Empathy, Retreat: The Cultural Heritage of the

Ethische Politiek’, in P. ter Keurs (ed.), Colonial Collections Revisited. (Leiden CNWS Publications), 22. 220-245. (Mededelingen van het Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde Leiden no. 36).

2007. From India to Suriname: A journey into the future narrated by two photograph albums (1913-1930). Allahabad: Manav Vikas Sangrahalaya – GB Pant Institute, [Bidesia Occasional papers Series no. 2).

2004. ‘Photographic Playing Cards. Teaching the Dutch Colonialism.’ In: E.  Edwards and J.Hart (eds.), Photographs Objects Histories. On the  Materiality of Images. London: Routledge, pp. 96-112.

2003. ‘De mythe van een etnisch homogene nationale identiteit 

Kanttekeningen bij de verwerking van

het koloniale verleden in de

Nederlandse geschiedenis’ in  Tijdschrft voor Geschiedenis 116(4), pp.


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