Benito Cao

Dr Benito Cao

Senior Lecturer

School of Social Sciences

Faculty of Arts

I am an Education Specialist and a member of the Adelaide Education Academy since 2017. This has translated into a shift in my academic profile from research to teaching. However, I remain interested and active in several research areas. I have a particular an ongoing interest in the relation between racism and national identity in Brazil, which was the topic of my PhD, but my main research focus at present is the intersection between environment and citizenship. I am the author of Environment and Citizenship (Routledge, 2015), and the guest editor of a special edition of the Journal of the Indian Ocean Region (JIOR) on Environmental Citizenship in the Indian Ocean Region (2020). I am also active in the field of innovation in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.


I research and have published in the following areas:


  • Citizenship Studies, esp. Environmental Citizenship
  • Nation and State, Nationalism, and Multiculturalism
  • Racism, Ethnic Relations, and the Politics of Identity
  • Power, Politics and Popular Culture (Cultural Studies)
  • Innovation in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
Date Project Funding Body Amount
2019 Singapore Study Tour Australian Government - New Colombo Plan $66,000
2019 Conference Papers Learning and Teaching Advancement Grant   $4,000
2018 Singapore Study Tour Australian Government - New Colombo Plan $66,000
2018 Curriculum Design Learning and Teaching Advancement Grant $10,000
2017 Singapore Study Tour Australian Government - New Colombo Plan $66,000
2017 Curriculum Design Learning and Teaching Advancement Grant $10,000
2016 Singapore Study Tour Australian Government - New Colombo Plan $66,000

I have been teaching since 2002. I began as a tutor at the University of Adelaide but have also taught at UniSA and Flinders University. I have a special interest in the study and teaching of Politics, but I am interested in all fields of Social Sciences and the Humanities. I have taught in over twenty different courses over the years. Currently, I teach a number of undergraduate courses across all levels in the Department of Politics and International Relations:

In 2020 I had the honour and the pleasure to interview Julia Gillard as part of the course Introduction to Global Politics. In 2021, I will be teaching Citizenship and Globalisation (Semester 1), Introduction to Global Politics (Semester 2), and The State of the World: Post Covid-19 (Semester 2). I hope the I will also be able to conduct the Singapore study tour in Term 4: "Inside Singapore: History, Politics, Identity". The content of the study tour is beautifully captured in this student blog from the 2017 edition: Majulah Singapura.

I have received several teaching awards, including: the Executive Dean's Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2011 and 2016, the Faculty Prize for Excellence in Teaching [Early Career] in 2010, a Faculty Prize for Excellence in Teaching [Continuing] in 2016 and 2020, a Beacon Commendation for the Enhancement and Innovation of Student Learning in 2016, a Student-Led Excellence in Teaching Award in 2019, a Special Commendation: COVID-19 Emergency Teaching Response in 2020, and a Stephen Cole the Elder Award for Excellence in Teaching and Support for Learning in 2020.

My teaching philosophy emphasises student engagement and participation that builds constantly on student feedback. In essence, this philosophy rests on a student-centred approach. This does not deny the crucial role of teachers as mentors, leaders and/or facilitators, but recognises that without paying close attention to the needs and views of students learning outcomes will be compromised. This approach requires the development and implementation of activities that inspire student engagement and participation, effectively treating students as partners in the teaching and learning process. The successful implementation of this teaching philosophy relies also on my ability to coordinate the efforts of tutors working with me in some of the courses I teach. This has allowed me to enable and inspire others to enhance their approach to learning and teaching.

  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2020 Co-Supervisor The role of state dominance in the interpretation and implementation of refugee rights in the Asia-Pacific Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Ainoa Cabada
    2020 Co-Supervisor Insecuritization and the Citizenship Regime: Claims of Citizenship of Bangladeshi Migrants amidst the Politics of Insecurity in Mumbai, India Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Ms Maggie Paul
    2019 Co-Supervisor Australian Expatriates and the Nation State: Identity, National Affiliation and Influences on Repatriation Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Anna Larson
    2019 Co-Supervisor Women in Governance in Maldives: Expectations, Barriers and Opportunities Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Fathimath Shafeega
  • Position: Senior Lecturer
  • Phone: 83135745
  • Email:
  • Fax: 8313 3443
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Napier, floor 4
  • Room: 4 09
  • Org Unit: Politics and International Relations (POLIR)

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