Skip navigation
The Australian National University

Associate Professor Benjamin Penny

BA (Sydney), MPhil (Cambridge), PhD (ANU)
Research Fellow, School of Culture, History & Language
ANU College of Asia and the Pacific

Areas of expertise

  • International Relations 160607
  • Sociological Methodology And Research Methods 160807
  • Australian History (Excl. Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander History) 210303
  • Philosophy Of Specific Cultures (Incl. Comparative Philosophy) 220316
  • Asian History 210302
  • Studies In Eastern Religious Traditions 220406
  • History And Philosophy Of The Humanities 220207

Research interests

Religious and spiritual movements in modern and contemporary China, in particular Falun Gong and the qigong boom; the interpretation of Chinese religions by westerners; Medieval Religious Daoism; the history of the religions of the Australian Chinese.


After studying at the Universities of Sydney, Cambridge, Peking and the ANU, I held a post-doctoral fellowship also at the ANU before moving to the Humanities Research Centre. Between 1999 and 2005, I worked as the first Executive Officer of the Herbert and Valmae Freilich Foundation, and in 2003 and 2004 also held a research fellowship at the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research. I was appointed to the Division of Pacific and Asian History in October 2005.

Career highlights

Foundation editor, Humanities Research; Board Member, Herbert and Valmae Freilich Foundation; Harold White Research Fellow, National Library of Australia; The Charles Strong Memorial Trust Annual Lecturer for the Australian Association of Religious Studies; appointment to the Division of Pacific and Asian History, RSPAS.


Return to top

Updated:  24 January 2018 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers