School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS)

Bruce Bennett

Bruce Bennett AO

Emeritus Professor


Professional Background

Bruce Bennett is Emeritus Professor in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of New South Wales at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra. He is a graduate of the Universities of Western Australia, Oxford and London. In 2004, he was awarded a higher doctorate (DLitt) of the University of New South Wales for his work in Australian literature. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and a member of its Council. He holds an Adjunct Professorship at the Australian National University and an Honorary Professorship at the University of Queensland. In 2005-06, he was Group of Eight Professor of Australian Studies at Georgetown University, Washington DC. Bruce Bennett was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for services to education and Australian literature in 1993.

Bruce’s main research and publishing interests are in Australian literature. He is the author of Homing In: Essays on Australian Literature and Selfhood (2006) and Australian Short Fiction: A History (2002), which was shortlisted for the New South Wales Premier’s Award. Another major project was The Oxford Literary History of Australia (1998). Other books by Bruce include Dorothy Hewett: Selected Critical Essays (1995), the award-winning Spirit in Exile: Peter Porter and his Poetry (1991) and An Australian Compass: Essays on Place and Direction in Australian Literature (1991).

Bruce Bennett has held Visiting Professorships at universities in Europe, Asia and North America. A former member of the Australian National Commission for UNESCO, he has advised governments, universities and schools on educational and cultural policy and co-authored the report Windows onto Worlds: Studying Australia at Tertiary Level (1987) and Internationalising Australian Studies: Strategies and Guidelines (1994). He wrote the chapter ‘Identity and Heritage’ for Knowing Ourselves and Others: The Humanities into the 21st Century (Australian Academy of the Humanities, 1998). He has served on a variety of panels for literary awards in the ACT and internationally.

He has strong interests in the literature of place and the development of Australia’s relations with the literatures and cultures of the Asia-Pacific as well as in Commonwealth and post-colonial literatures. He was appointed to the Australia-India Council in 2002.

His edited books include  Crossing Cultures: Essays on the Literature and Culture of the Asia-Pacific  (Skoob, London, 1996) with Jeff Doyle and Satendra Nandan and he was on the editorial board of The Australian Anthology of Post-Colonial Literatures in English, edited by John Thieme (Arnold, London, 1996). He also co-edited Resistance and Reconciliation: Writing in the Commonwealth (2003).

He is a chief investigator for AustLit: The Australian Literature Resource at More recently, he has developed research interests in the literatures of espionage and terrorism.