Vannessa Hearman

PhD in History (Melbourne), Master in Contemporary Asian Analysis (Melbourne), Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Commerce (Melbourne)

Lecturer in Indonesian Studies

Vannessa Hearman is lecturer in Indonesian Studies. She received her PhD from the University of Melbourne. Her research deals with the 1965-66 anti-communist violence in Indonesia, the politics of memory and human rights, and transnational activism related to Indonesia and East Timor. She is the author of Unmarked Graves: Death and Survival in the Anti-Communist Violence in East Java, Indonesia, published by NUS Press. In addition, Dr Hearman has published her research widely in edited collections and academic journals such as Critical Asian Studies, Journal of Genocide Research, Labour History, Citizenship Studies, and Indonesia. She also writes for media such as Inside Indonesia, The Conversation, New Mandala and the Diplomat.

For her Masters, Dr Hearman conducted research on Timor-Leste and post-conflict reconstruction, following a stint working with the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) and the Australian Electoral Commission’s International Services Division. She is a NAATI accredited professional Indonesian interpreter and translator. 


  • Indonesian language
  • Indonesian history and politics
  • Southeast Asian history and politics

Research Interests

  • The 1965-66 anti communist violence in Indonesia
  • Indonesian transnational activism
  • The self-determination campaign for East Timor
  • Timorese diaspora and Australian government policy


I welcome Honours and postgraduate student supervisions in areas of my research interests, such as Indonesian and Southeast Asian history and politics.

I have supervised Honours and postgraduate students to completion on projects dealing with Indonesian politics such as tourism, development and media, as well as Indonesian history.

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  • Regional councillor (Southeast Asia), Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) 2015-18
  • Member, Australian Historical Association (AHA)
  • Member, Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators (AUSIT)
  • Member, European Association for Studies of Australia (EASA)



Hearman, V. 2018. Unmarked Graves: Death and Survival in the Anti Communist Violence in East Java, Indonesia. Singapore: NUS Press.

Refereed journal articles

  • Hearman, V. 2018. Screening East Timorese women and history in Timor-Leste’s Beatriz’s War, (conditional acceptance 15 Mar 2018). Gender and History Special Issue on Film and Television. 
  • Hearman, V. 2018. Between human rights and citizenship: The struggle for justice after Indonesia’s 1965 mass violence. Citizenship Studies 22(2): 175–90.
  • Hearman, V. 2017. Contesting victimhood in the Indonesian anti-communist violence and its implications for justice for the victims of the 1968 South Blitar Trisula operation in East Java. Journal of Genocide Research 19(4): 512–29.
  • Hearman, V. 2016. Indonesian trade unionists, the world federation of trade unions and Cold War internationalism, 1947-65Labour History, 111. 27-44.
  • Hearman, V. 2016. Letter-writing and transnational activism on behalf of Indonesian political prisoners: Gatot Lestario and his legacy. Critical Asian Studies, 48(2): 145-167.
  • Hearman, V. 2015. Sweet potato dreaming: Development, displacement and food crisis in south Blitar, East Java, 1968. Global Food History, 1(1): 81-102.
  • Hearman, V. 2013. Under duress: Suppressing and recovering memories of the Indonesian Sixties. Social Transformation: Journal of the Global South, 1(1): 5-25.
  • Hearman, V. 2010. The last men in Havana: Indonesian exiles in Cuba. Review of Indonesian and Malaysian Affairs, 44(1): 83-110, Special issue, Indonesian exiles: crossing cultural, political and religious borders.
  • Hearman, V. 2010. Guerrillas, guns and knives? Debating insurgency in South Blitar. Indonesia, 89: 61-92.
  • Hearman, V. 2009. The uses of memoirs and oral history works in researching the 1965-66 political violence in Indonesia. International Journal of Asia-Pacific Studies, 5(2): 21-42.
  • McGregor, K. and V. Hearman. 2007. Challenges of political rehabilitation in post-New Order Indonesia: the case of Gerwani (the Indonesian Women's Movement). South East Asia Research 15 (3): 377-406.

Book Chapters

  • Hearman, V. (in press). The Munir Human Rights Museum and its challenge to traditions of authoritarian political museology in Indonesia. In Human rights, the Holocaust and the contemporary museum, edited by Dirk Moses, Avril Alba and Jennifer Barrett. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvannia Press.
  • Hearman, V. 2018. The 1965-66 violence, religious conversions and the changing relationship between the Left and Indonesia’s churches. In The Indonesian Genocide of 1965: Causes, Dynamics and Legacies, edited by Katharine McGregor, Annie Pohlman and Jess Melvin, pp.175–95. London: Palgrave MacMillan.
  • McGregor, K. and V. Hearman. 2017. Challenging the “life line of imperialism”: Reassessing Afro-Asian solidarity and related activism in the decade 1955-1965.” In Bandung, Global History and International Law: Critical Pasts and Pending Futures, edited by Vasuki Nesiah, Luis Eslava and Michael Fakhri, pp. 161–76. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Hearman, V. 2017. Hearing the 1965–66 Indonesian anti-communist repression: Sensory history and its possibilities.” In Sound, Memory and the Senses, edited by Joy Damousi and Paula Hamilton, pp. 142–56. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
  • McGregor, K. and V. Hearman. In press. Challenging the “Life Line of Imperialism”: Reassessing Afro-Asian Solidarity and Related Activism in the Decade 1955-1965. In Nesiah, V., Eslava L. and Fakhri, M. (eds.) Bandung, Global History and International Law: Critical Pasts and Pending Futures. Cambridge University Press
  • Hearman, V. 2017. Hearing the 1965–66 Indonesian anti-communist repression: Sensory history and its possibilities. In Joy Damousi and Paula Hamilton eds. A Cultural History of Sound, Memory and the Senses. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge
  • Hearman, V. 2016. Indonesian nationalism: from underdog to rising power in Jeffrey Kingston ed. Asian Nationalisms Reconsidered. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. (Invited publication)
  • Hearman, V. 2012. South Blitar and the PKI bases: Refuge, resistance and repression. In Katharine McGregor and Douglas Kammen (eds.), The Contours of Mass Violence in Indonesia (1965-68), Singapore: National University of Singapore Press and Hawaii University Press.

Refereed conference papers

Hearman, V. 2018. Missing the boat: Indonesian Kompas newspaper’s 1995 reporting on asylum seekers from East Timor. In New Research on Timor-Leste 2017, edited by Peter Job, Antero B. da Silva, Nuno Canas Mendes, Alarico do Costa Ximenes, Mica Barreto Soares, Sara Niner, and Therese Tam. Hawthorn: Swinburne University of Technology, Vol. 1.

Other Publications

  • Hearman, V. 2016. No ‘magic bullet’. Inside Indonesia 123. (Invited publication)
  • Hearman, V. 2015. Der Putschversuch von 1965 und die Gewalt danach. [The 1965 coup attempt and its violent aftermath]. In Gunnar Stange, Rolf Jordan and Kristina Groβmann (Eds.), Handbuch Indonesien, (pp. 91-96). Berlin: Horlemann Verlag. (Invited publication)
  • Hearman, V. 2014. Remembering Munir. Inside Indonesia 115.
  • Hearman, V. 2014. ‘Missing victims’ of the 1965-66 violence in Indonesia: Representing impunity on screen in the Act of Killing. A CAS Roundtable on The Act of Killing, Critical Asian Studies, 46:1, 171-175. (Invited publication)
  • Hearman, V. 2013. Sources and Methodologies: History: Southeast Asia. In Joseph, Suad (ed). Women and Islamic Cultures: Disciplinary Paradigms and Approaches: 2003 – 2013. pp. 173-198. Leiden: Brill. (Invited publication)
  • Hearman, V. 2010. Hunted Communists. Inside Indonesia 99. (Invited publication)



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