prof. dr. S. (Susan) Legêne

Susan Legêne is professor of Political History at VU University, Faculty of Arts/History Department in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She obtained her doctorate (Drs.) in History in 1982 at the University of Amsterdam. Her initial career was in publishing; in 1985 she founded KIT Press, the publishing house of the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam. In 1998 she finished her PhD research in Humanities at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam. From 1997 to 2008 she was head of the Curatorial Department of the Tropenmuseum (Royal Tropical Institute) in Amsterdam.

Her research focuses on processes of inclusion and exclusion in colonial and postcolonial nation state formation, with material and visual collections from the colonial past as valuable sources to explore the impact of cultural canon formation through past academic research traditions and exhibition practices. Legêne published numerous lectures and articles, often on the cross-road between (colonial) history and museology. A recent book publication (2010) is 'Spiegelreflex. Culturele sporen van de koloniale ervaring' [Mirror-Reflex: Cultural Traces of the Colonial Experience].

Legêne is member of the National UNESCO Commission and member of the Ethical Code Commission for Museums. She is the Project Leader of the research project ‘Sites, Bodies and Stories’ (2008-2013) and the e-History project 'Agora: eventing history’ (2009-2014); she also has been Principal Investigator in the HERA JPR ‘PhotoCLEC’ on Photographs, Colonial legacy and Museums in Contemporary European Culture (2010-2012) as well as the Bidesia project on the poetic legacies of the migration of indentured labourers from North India (2005-2008).