Dr Andrea Benvenuti
Margaret George Award 2008
Topic: Defence and decolonisation in South-East Asia: Australia's policy towards Britain's end of empire
Dr Benvenuti presented his findings at a public lecture in Canberra on 17 November 2009
Biographical noteDr Andrea Benvenuti is a lecturer in the European Studies Program at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. His current research project centres on the impact of the British military withdrawal from east of Suez on the Western alliance, and subsequent Western strategic and military policies in Cold War Asia.
Andrea has previously taught international history at the University of New South Wales Asia in Singapore. Between July 2004 and December 2006 he held a postdoctoral research fellowship in international relations at the School of Political Science and International Studies, University of Queensland, Brisbane. Before joining the University of Queesland, Andrea was as postdoctoral research fellow at the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies (King’s College London).
Dr Benvenuti's research focused on the collapse of Britain's colonial order in South-East Asia between 1945 and 1963, and analysed Australia’s responses and attitudes to British colonial and defence policies in Malaya, Singapore and the Borneo states.
It shed light on how the political, strategic and economic consequences of Britain's winding down of its empire clearly impacted on the structuring of international politics in South-East Asia, reshaping not only Australia's immediate neighbourhood but also Australia’s relations with the region.
The research highlighted the widening gulf between Australian and British interests in the region. It made an original contribution to the changing nature of Anglo–Australian relations in the postwar period. It also aided in a better understanding of the background of Australia’s current relations with its South-East Asian neighbours.