Bernard Keo

Bernard Z. Keo

Assistant Professor, International History and Politics
Spoken languages
English, Hokkien, Indonesian, Malay
Areas of expertise
  • Nationalism and nation-making
  • End of Empire and decolonisation
  • Global history
  • Port-cities
  • Digital Humanities
Geographical Region of Expertise
  • Southeast Asia

PhD in Southeast Asian History, Monash University


Bernard Z. Keo is an historian of modern Southeast Asia, with a particular focus on the intertwined processes of decolonisation and nation-making in the post-World War II period. His further research interests include the Malayan Emergency, urban life in the port-cities of Southeast Asia, and transnational networks across the Malay World. He also has training and research in the Digital Humanities, having been part of the team that built Virtual Angkor, a digital education platform which was awarded the Roy N. Rosenzweig Prize for Innovation in Digital History from the American Historical Association in 2018, the Mediaeval Society of America's Digital Humanities and Multimedia Studies Prize in 2021.


Selected Publications


  • Imagining Malaya: Cosmopolitanism, Nationalism, and Belonging at the End of Empire (under review)

Journal Articles

  • ‘Australian Spectatorship in Indonesia’s Decolonisation and the Framing of International citizenship after 1945’, Australian Historical Studies 54, no. 2 (2023): 247-273. With Susie Protschky.
  • ‘From Kapitan to Unofficial: The Evolution of Ethnic Administration in the Straits Settlements’ (under review).
  • ‘Colonial City, Global Entanglements: Intra- and Trans-Imperial Networks in George Town, 1786-1937’, Journal of World History (forthcoming, 2024).
  • ‘Australian Spectatorship in Indonesia’s Decolonisation and the Framing of International citizenship after 1945’, Special Issue of Australian Historical Studies, ‘Picturing Australian Citizenship’ (forthcoming, 2023). With Susie Protschky.
  • ‘Crossing the River by Feeling the Stones: Deng Xiaoping and the Making of Modern China’, Education About Asia 25, no. 2 (2020): 33-42.
  •  ‘Made in China or Born Abroad?: Identity and Belonging in the Chinese Diaspora’, Education About Asia 25, no. 2 (2020): 1-8. With Nathan D. Gardner.
  • ‘A Small, Distant War?: Historiographical Reflections on the Malayan Emergency’, History Compass 17, no. 3 (2019): 1-12. 

Book Chapters

  • ‘Teaching with Trials: Using Digital Humanities and Courtroom Recreations to Flip the Humanities Classroom’. In Christopher J. Young, Michael Morrone, Thomas C. Wilson, and Emma Annette Wilson (eds) Quick Hits for Teaching with Digital Humanities: Successful Strategies from Award-Winning Teachers. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2020. With Adam Clulow and Samuel Horewood.
  • ‘Between Empire and Nation(s): The Peranakan Chinese of the Straits Settlements, 1890-1948’. In Peter Monteath and Matthew Fitzpatrick (eds) Amidst Empires: Colonialism, China and the Chinese, 1839-1997. Abingdon: Routledge, 2020.


  • 'Book Reviews Editor, History Australia'
  • Editorial Board, Diasporas in Asia and Beyond, Amsterdam University Press (2022-Present)
  • Board Member, Global Urban History Project (2021-Present)
  • Historical Consultant, Channel News Asia (2020-Present)
  • Designer and Developer, Virtual Angkor (2018-Present)
  • Developer, Norris Embassy to Mughal India (2018-2019)