Dr Ingrid

Dr Ingrid Sykes

Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow

College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce

Humanities and Social Sciences

Department of Archaeology and History

David Myers Building East 109, Melbourne (Bundoora)


PhD (City University, London); FRHistS



Membership of professional associations

Australian Historical Association; Royal Historical Society, UK (Fellow, elected 2010); American Association for the History of Medicine

Area of study


Brief profile

Ingrid Sykes is a cultural historian of modern France and has been a member of the history program at La Trobe since 2011. She has published widely in the areas of the French history of science, technology and medicine with a particular interest in French cultures of sound. She completed a Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship at the Centre for the History of Medicine, University of Warwick, UK and was a member of the research team, Histoire de l’Invention et des Savoirs Techniques, Centre d’Histoire des Techniques (CDHTE), Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers, Paris, France. Her 2013 Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship project, “Microbial Visions: French Colonial Biomedicine in Twentieth-Century New Caledonia” will record the first comprehensive history of colonial biomedicine and public health in the French territory of New Caledonia. 

Research interests

European History

- Please contact me to discuss a topic.

French Language

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Government and Politics of Asia and the Pacific

- Please contact me to discuss a topic.

Teaching units

  • HIS3MHI: Making History
  • HIS2NCA: Nationalism and Capitalism
  • HIS2MPH: Modern History of Medicine and Public Health
  • Honours special subject: History and the Human Condition


European History (Modern); History of Science, Technology and Medicine (Global)

Recent publications

Single-Authored Books

1. Leprosy in New Caledonia: Race, Medicine and Disease in the French Pacific. Forthcoming.

2. Society, Culture and the Auditory Imagination in Modern France: The Humanity of Hearing. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.

3. Women, Sound and Science in Nineteenth-Century France, Series: Interdisciplinary Studies in Music. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2007

Co-edited Special Issue/Books

4. “The Fragile Medical: The Slippery Terrain between Medicine, Anthropology and Societies”, co-edited with Harish Naraindas (Jawaharlal Nehru University, India), Anthropology and Medicine (December 2017). In press.

5. “New Caledonia and the Intellectual Imagination,” co-edited with Scott Robertson. Forthcoming.

Scholarly Book Chapters

6. “Sana Ducos: The Last Leprosarium in New Caledonia” In Quarantine: Local and Global Histories, edited by Alison Bashford, pp 195-209: London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

7. “The Politics of Sound: Music and Blindness in France, 1750-1830,” The Oxford Handbook of Music and Disability Studies, edited by Blake Howe, Stephanie Jensen-Moulton. Neil Lerner and Joseph Straus, 92-111. NY: Oxford University Press, 2016).

8. “Le corps sonore: Music and the Auditory Body in France 1780-1830,” Music and the Nerves, 1700-1900, edited by James Kennaway, 72-97. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014; doi 10.1057/9781137339515.0008.

9. “Les produits de l’acoustique: Brevets d’invention de musique 1800-1830,” Les archives de l’invention, Ecrits, objets et images de l’activité inventive, edited by Mary-Sophie Corcy, Christiane Douyère-Demeulenaere, Liliane Hilaire-Pérez, 499-510. Toulouse: CNRS, Université de Toulouse-Le Mirail, 2006.

10. Music and the Commodification of Sound: Advertising Acoustics in France 1800-1830,” Retailers and Consumer Changes in Early Modern Europe: England, France, Italy and the Low Countries, edited by Bruno Blondé, Eugénie Briot, Natacha Coquery and Laura Van Aert, 125-138. Tours, France: Presses Universitaires François-Rabelais, 2005.

Journal Articles

11. “Humanitarian Quarantine in Practice: Medicine, Religion and Leprosy in New Caledonia.” In The Fragile Medical: The Slippery Terrain between Anthropology, Medicine and Societies, edited by Ingrid Sykes and Harish Naraindas, Anthropology and Medicine (December 2017). In Press.

12. “Disability, Leprosy and Kanak Identity in Twentieth-Century New Caledonia,” French and Francophone World Disability Studies special issue edited by Tammy Berberi and Christian Flaugh, Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies 10, no. 2, (2016): 173-189.

13. “The Art of Listening: Perceiving Pulse in Eighteenth-Century France,” The Five Senses in the Enlightenment edited by Jonathan Reinarz and Leonard Schwarz, Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies 35, no. 4 (Dec. 2012): 473-488

14. “Sounding the Citizen Patient: The Politics of Voice in Post-Revolutionary France,” Medical History 55, no.4 (2011): 479-502

15. “Hearing Science in Eighteenth-Century Britain and France,” co-authored with Penelope Gouk (University of Manchester), Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 2010; doi 10.1093/jhmas/jrq045.

16. “Gender and Musical Performance in mid nineteenth-century France: the case of Juliette Godillon,” French History 2010; doi: 10.1093/fh/crq056.

17. "Sonorous Mechanics: the Culture of Sonority in the Nineteenth-Century French Institution,” Nineteenth-Century Music Review 1, Issue 1 (August 2004): 43-66

18. “The Globalization of French Sound: French Convents in Australia,” French History and Civilization: Papers from the George Rudé Seminar 1, edited by Ian Coller, Helen Davies and Julie Kalman (Melbourne, Australia: The University of Melbourne, 2005): 97-103.

Book Reviews in Social History of Medicine, Music and Letters, Nineteenth-Century Music Review and French History.

On-Line Lexicon “Juliette Godillon,” http://www.sophie-drinker-institut.de/cms/index.php


Research projects

2017 (12 October) "New Caledonia and the Intellectual Imagination," Co-Convened International Symposium (with Scott Robertson), Borchardt Library, La Trobe University.

2013/14, La Trobe University, Understanding Disease Research Focus Area Small Grant for ‘State, Stigma, Society: Rethinking Disease in a Global Age,’ Principal Investigator. (Co-Investigators: Dr Michael O’Keefe, Politics and Dr Tarryn Phillips, Legal Studies). 

2012, Visiting Fellow, Australian National University, Canberra, Humanities Research Centre. Project Theme: Ecological Enlightenment

2009, “Signalling Sound,” Convened International Symposium on Auditory Neuroscience, Technology and History, Arden Conference Centre, University of Warwick, supported by the Wellcome Trust.