Drs (Groningen); MA (York University); MA, PhD (Penn); FRSN

History, Heritage And Archaeology

Hans Pols FAHA FASSA FRSN is Professor at the School of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Sydney and a fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, the Australian Academy of the Humanities, and the Royal Society of New South Wales. He is interested in the history of colonial medicine and the transformation of medical research and medical practices underwent during the process of decolonization. His research has focused on the Dutch East Indies and Indonesia, and on psychiatry and mental health. His book Nurturing Indonesia: Medicine and Decolonisation in the Dutch East Indies was published by Cambridge University Press in 2018 (the Indonesian translation appeared as Merawat Bangsa: Sejarah Pergerakan para Dokter Indonesia Zaman Kolonial (Jakarta: KOMPAS, 2018)). 

Apart from his interest in the history of medicine in the Dutch East Indies and Indonesia, Professor Pols has long been interested in the current state of mental health care in Indonesia, and how it could develop in the future. With Professors Byron J. Good and Mary-Jo DelVecchio Good, he was involved in a large project entitled Imagining Indonesian Psychiatry: Past, Present, and Future (2014-2017; funded by the Australian Research Council). One of the main publications that resulted from that project is Hans Pols, G. Pandu Setiawan, Carla Marchira, Irmansyah, Eunike Sri Tyas Suci, Mary-Jo DelVecchio Good, and Byron J. Good, eds. Jiwa Sehat, Negara Kuat: Masa Depan Layanan Kesehatan Jiwa di Indonesia [The Future of Mental Health Care in Indonesia]. 2 vols. (Jakarta: KOMPAS, 2019). This book had over 50 Indonesian contributors. An abbreviated version in English is currently in preparation.

In 2021, Professor Pols published an edited volume on reactions to highly traumatizing events in Asia: Mark Micale and Hans Pols, eds. Traumatic Pasts in Asia: History, Psychiatry, and Trauma, 1930 to the Present (New York: Berghahn, 2021). This collection is the first one to explore issues related to trauma in Asia. It is part of his new research project on conceptions of trauma and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in the global South.

Professor Pols is currently leading a research project, funded by the Australia Research Council, on the history of community mental health in Australia. The project team consists of a psychologist, a psychiatrist, two historians, four consumers of mental health care, and several students, and has developed methodologies of co-production to gain comprehensive insights into the development of mental health care practices in Australia. 

University of Sydney 2001-current

1. Pols, Hans. Nurturing Indonesia: Medicine and Decolonisation in the Dutch East Indies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.

2. Dunlop, Robyn, and Hans Pols. "Deinstitutionalisation and Mental Health Activism in Australia: Emerging Voices of Individuals with Lived Experience of Severe Mental Distress, 1975-1985." History Australia 19, no. 1 (2022): 92-114.

3. Micale, Mark, and Hans Pols, eds. Traumatic Pasts in Asia: History, Psychiatry, and Trauma, 1930 to the Present. New York: Berghahn, 2021.

4. Pols, Hans. "Towards Trans-Cultural Histories of Psychotherapies." European Journal of Psychotherapy & Counselling 20, no. 1 (2018): 88-103.

5. Edington, Claire, and Hans Pols. "Building Southeast Asian Psychiatric Expertise: Site Visits, Scientific Journeys, and Medical Exchanges between French Indochina and the Dutch East Indies, 1898-1937." Comparative Studies in Society and History 58, no. 3 (2016): 636-63.