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The Australian National University

Dr Mary Kilcline Cody

B.Asian Studies (Hons), PhD (ANU)
Lecturer in Southeast Asian History, Tuckwell Fellow
ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
T: 61254272

Research interests

Histories of Malaysia and Singapore

Murder trials, public enquiries and colonial law in Southeast Asia

The history of palm oil and rubber in Malaya

The life and work of the French writer, Henri Fauconnier.


English colonial literature - W. Somerset Maugham


I am an historian of colonial Southeast Asia in the College of Asia and the Pacific.   I work with English, French, Dutch, Indonesian and Malay primary sources to explore topics as diverse as law in the domains of culture, English and French colonial enclaves in Southeast Asia, literature and history, the lives and works of W. Somerset Maugham and Henri Fauconnier, and the colonial patent medicines. 

I am a Tuckwell Fellow,  a Fellow of the Research School of Asia and the Pacific, ANU, an Associate Member of the International Centre for the History of Crime, Policing and Justice, Open University, UK and a member of the European Microhistory Network.

As one of four Fellows in the prestigious Tuckwell Program, I coordinate the 2014 cohort of talented undergraduate students and I mentor them as part of a wider program of enrichment. I convene the foundation courses for the Master of Asia-Pacific Studies and have designed and delivered the Vice Chancellor's Creating Knowledge Course in addition to convening and teaching courses about Malaysia: Politics, Society and Development; Engaging Asia: Working with Government; Individual and Society in Contemporary Asia; Clio and her sisters: Historiography in Asia.

Researcher's projects

1) Book length study (near completion) of law and society in British Malaya  - The Trial of Mrs Proudlock: Law, Government and Society in British Malaya, 1911. This is  a literary and forensic deconstruction of a sensational murder trial that rocked the outwardly staid world of colonial Malaya one hundred years ago.

See recent French article in Le Petit Journal in

See English article in The Canberra Times

2) Book length study of the life and work of the French writer and rubber and oil palm baron, Henri Fauconnier.  Book provisionally entitled : Rubber, palm oil and the Prix Goncourt: Henri Fauconnier in Malaya.  In late 2015, with the support of an Early Career Researcher's Grant from the ANU, I conducted preliminary research in France by invitation of the author's family.   

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Updated:  08 December 2016 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers