Charles Darwin University
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Dr Vannessa Hearman

Senior Lecturer in Indonesian Studies

Be supervised by Vannessa

Dr Vannessa Hearman is a historian of Southeast Asia. Her research interests, in particular, are Indonesia, Timor-Leste, mass violence, trauma, colonialism, and diaspora and migration. Dr Hearman is a leading researcher on the 1965-66 mass violence in Indonesia and the long-term effects of the violence, publishing one monograph, Unmarked Graves: Death and Survival in the Anti-Communist Violence in East Java, Indonesia (NUS Press, 2018) and numerous journal articles and book chapters on this topic.

Dr Hearman is an active researcher on the history of Timor-Leste/East Timor and is completing a monograph on the only boatload of asylum seekers from East Timor that successfully reached Australia during the Indonesian occupation. 

She provides media commentary and op-eds to media such as The Conversation, The Diplomat, New Mandala and Inside Indonesia on her research. Dr Hearman works with multilingual sources in her research, including conducting and analysing a large number of oral history interviews. She has supervised to completion and examined research theses at the PhD, Masters and Honours level in the fields of history, politics and area studies related to Indonesia. She is supervising projects currently on topics related to life history writing and Southeast Asian history and politics. Most recently, Dr Hearman has received the Asia Study Grant from the National Library of Australia and the Northern Territory History Grant to support her research on East Timorese asylum seekers. 

Dr Hearman’s doctoral thesis, conferred by the University of Melbourne was a joint winner of the the Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA)’s President’s Prize for Best Thesis in Asian Studies in 2014. In 2015, it was one of three theses shortlisted in the International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS) Best Dissertation in the Humanities Award.



Research interests:

  • Indonesian Studies 
  • Southeast Asian history and politics

Connect with Vannessa: 


CDU is currently looking for students to undertake their Higher Degree by Research in the Northern Territory. Scholarships are available.

Apply by 31 October for Research Scholarships

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