Dr Brett Bennett


Dr Brett Bennett with trees in the background.

Brett M. Bennett is a Senior Lecturer in Modern History at Western Sydney University. He is also a Senior Research Association at the University of Johannesburg and a former Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow (2011-2013). His research uses historical methods to investigate how the interaction of human actions and natural processes created contemporary ecosystems, scientific ideas, and conservation policies.

Bennett is the author of Plantations and protected areas: a global history of forest management (Cambridge [MA]: The MIT Press, 2015), co-author with Frederick J. Kruger of Forestry and water conservation in South Africa: history, science, policy (Canberra: ANU Press, 2015), and co-author with Gregory Barton on the ARC-Funded book Saving the world the first time: ideas of climate change before global warming that is under contract with Reaktion Press. He has authored articles for a variety of leading international journals. This work has been featured in numerous national and international media outlets including The New Republic, ABC National Radio's The Science Show and Hindsight, The Australian, The Mail and Guardian (South Africa), and The Canberra Times.

Bennett's ongoing research focuses on species introductions, the globalisation of protected areas, forestry for economic and social development, water conservation, and the history of globalisation in the British world. He is currently a Co-Chief Investigator on an ARC-Funded Discovery Project, The Crisis in International Heritage Conservation in an Age of Shifting Global Power (2014-2016).

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Qualifications

PhD (History), 2010, University of Texas at Austin

MA (History), 2008, University of Texas at Austin

BA (Humanities), 2006, Indiana University

 

Honours and Awards

2011-2012: Thai Research Fellowship from Thailand's Embassy in Australia

2011-2013: Australian Research Council (ARC) Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship (APD)

2011-: School Visitor, School of History, Australian National University

2010: Alfred Bell Fellowship, Forest History Society

2010-: Visiting Resident, Centre for Environmental History, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University

2009-2010: Social Science Research Council (SSRC)-American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) International Dissertation Research Fellowship funded by the Mellon Foundation

2009-2010: National Science Foundation Science, Technology, and Society Dissertation Improvement Grant

2009-2010: Deans Prestigious Award Supplement, the University of Texas at Austin

2009: Visiting Fellow, Modern History Department, Macquarie University

2009: J.B. Harley Fellowship for Cartographic History, London

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Areas of Research/Expertise

Environmental History, Forestry, Biodiversity, Development Studies, Imperialism, Global History, History of Science, Indian Ocean Studies

 

Selected Grants

2014-2017: The Crisis in International Heritage Conservation in an Age of Shifting Global Power, Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project (with Tim Winter, Deakin University)

2011-2013: Australian Research Council (ARC) Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship (APD) $266,846

2010: Alfred Bell Fellowship, Forest History Society

2009-2010: Social Science Research Council (SSRC)-American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) International Dissertation Research Fellowship funded by the Mellon Foundation $24,500 USD

2009-2010: National Science Foundation Science, Technology, and Society Dissertation Improvement Grant $14,500 USD

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Selected Publications

Books

Bennett, BM & Barton, G (forthcoming, under contract), Saving the world the first time: ideas of climate change before global warming, Reaktion Press.

Bennett, BM & Kruger, FJ 2015, Forestry and water conservation in South Africa: history, science, policy (opens in a new window), ANU Press, Canberra. 

Bennett, BM 2015, Plantations and protected areas: a global history of forest management (opens in a new window), The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. 

Bennett, BM & Hodge, JM (eds) 2011, Science and empire: knowledge and networks of science across the British Empire 1800-1970, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Book Chapters

Bennett, BM 2013, 'Narratives of natural history: recovering lost lineages in Margaret Levyns' life-writing', in PL Arthur (ed.), International life writing: recovering memories of social movements, Routledge, London & New York, pp. 51-66.

Barton, GA & Bennett, BM 2013, 'The environment', in A Bashford & S Macintyre (eds), The Cambridge history of Australia, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne & Cambridge, pp. 452-71.

Bennett, BM 2011, 'The consolidation and reconfiguration of "British" networks of science, 1800-1970', in BM Bennett & JM Hodge, Science and empire: knowledge and networks of science across the British Empire 1800-1970, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp. 30-44.

Bennett, BM 2011, 'A networked approach to the origins of forestry education in India, 1855-1885', in BM Bennett & JM Hodge, Science and empire: knowledge and networks of science across the British Empire 1800-1970, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp. 68-88.

Barton, GA & Bennett, BM 2011, 'A case study in the environmental history of gentlemanly capitalism: the battle between gentlemen teak merchants and state foresters in Burma and Siam, 1827-1901', in T Falola & E Brownell (eds), Africa, empire, and globalization: essays in honor of A.G. Hopkins (opens in a new window), Carolina Academic Press, Durham, pp. 317-32.

Journal Articles

Brett, BM 2015, 'Margaret Levyns and the decline of ecological liberalism in the Southwest Cape, 1890–1975', South African Historical Journal, vol. 67, no. 1, pp. 64-84.  

Brett, BM 2015, 'Forestry in reconstruction South Africa: imperial visions, colonial realities', Britain and the World, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 225-245.  

Bennett, B 2014, 'Model invasions and the development of national concerns over invasive introduced trees: insights from South African history', Biological Invasions, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 499-512. 

Dickie, I, van Wilgen, B, Bennett, B, Burrows, L, Nuñez, M, Peltzer, D, Porte, A, Richardson, D, Rejmánek, M & Rundel, P 2014, 'Conflicting values: ecosystem services and invasive tree management', Biological Invasions, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 705-719. 

Bennett, B 2014, 'The origins of timber plantations in India', Agricultural History Review, vol. 62, no. 1 , pp. 98-118. 

Kruger, F & Bennett, B 2013, 'Wood and water: an historical assessment of South Africa's past and present forestry policies as they relate to water conservation' (opens in a new window), Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa, vol. 68, no. 3, pp. 163-174. 

Bennett, B & Kruger, F 2013, 'Ecology, forestry and the debate over exotic trees in South Africa', Journal of Historical Geography, vol. 42, pp. 100-09.

Bennett, BM (accepted), 'Margaret Levyns and the decline of ecological liberalism in the Southwest Cape, 1890-1975', South African Historical Journal.

Bennett, BM 2013, 'The rise and demise of South Africa's first school of forestry' (opens in a new window), Environment and History, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 63-85.

Bennett, BM 2011, 'Naturalising Australian trees in South Africa: climate, exotics and experimentation', Journal of Southern African Studies, vol. 37, no. 2, pp. 265-80.

Barton, GA & Bennett, BM 2011, 'Edward Harold Fulcher Swain's vision of forest modernity' (opens in a new window), Intellectual History Review, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 135-50.

Bennett, BM 2011, 'A global history of Australian trees' (opens in a new window), Journal of the History of Biology, vol. 44, no. 1, pp. 125-45.

Bennett, BM 2010, 'The El Dorado of forestry: the eucalyptus in India, South Africa and Thailand, 1850-2000' (opens in a new window), International Review of Social History, vol. 55, no. 18, pp. 27-50.

Barton, GA & Bennett, BM 2010, '"There is a pleasure in the pathless woods": the culture of forestry in British India' (opens in a new window), The British Scholar Journal, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 219-34.

Barton, GA & Bennett, BM 2010, 'Forestry as foreign policy: Anglo-Siamese relations and the origins of Britain's informal empire in the teak forests of Northern Siam, 1883-1925' (opens in a new window), Itinerario: International Journal of the History of European Expansion and Global Interaction, vol. 34, no. 2, 65-86. 

Bennett, BM 2009, 'An imperial, national and state debate: the rise and near fall of the Australian forestry school, 1927-1945' (opens in a new window), Environment and History, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 217-44.

Barton, GA & Bennett, BM 2008, 'Environmental conservation and deforestation in British India 1855-1947: a reinterpretation' (opens in a new window), Itinerario: International Journal of the History of European Expansion and Global Interaction, vol. 38, no. 2, pp. 83-104. 

Media and Essays

Bennett, BM 2011, 'A contested past and present: Australian trees in South Africa' (opens in a new window), Social Science Research Council, 24 May.

Bennett, BM 2010, 'Young guns hold their own against world's best' (opens in a new window), The Australian, 23 February, p. 41.

Bennett, BM 2010, 'Reading the land: changing landscapes and the environmental history of South Africa', in M Godby, C Walker, S Klopper & BM Bennett (eds), The lie of the land: representations of the South African Landscape, Pinewood Studios, Cape Town, pp. 46-59.

Bennett, BM 2010, Interview by Robyn Williams (opens in a new window), radio broadcast, ABC Radio's Science Show, 3 July.

Bennett, BM 2010, 'Make a museum out of the former Australian forestry school building', The Canberra Times, 28 April, p. 11.

Bennett, BM 2010, 'Thinking of moving abroad? How to begin applying for foreign jobs' (opens in a new window), Perspectives on History: The Newsmagazine of the American Historical Association, April, pp. 29-30.

Bennett, BM 2010, 'Cuts are inevitable, so let's join the debate' (opens in a new window), Times Higher Education, 7 January, pp. 30.

Contact

» Contact Dr Brett Bennett

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