Prof Benedict Kerkvliet


Research activity per year

Personal profile


BA (Whitman), MA, PhD (Wisconsin), FAHA

Researcher's projects

Public Political Criticism in Contemporary Vietnam


Growing up in a small town on the plains of Montana (USA), Ben was surrounded by working class relatives and friends for whom political discussion and debate were part of life. That background helps to account for his research interests until today. After graduating from the local public high school, he earned degrees at Whitman College (Walla Walla, Washington) and the University of Wisconsin (Madison), then taught for nearly twenty years at the University of Hawai'i (Honolulu) before joining the ANU in 1992.

Career highlights

Faculty member, University of Hawaii (1971-91); faculty member, ANU (1992-present); working with industrious graduate students; various fellowships and awards for research and teaching; and living in and doing research in the Philippines and Vietnam.

Research interests

Comparative politics; Southeast Asia; Asian studies.

Fascinated with how ordinary people deal with big pressures on their lives, Ben has emphasized research on agrarian politics in Southeast Asia. Closely related is his study of interactions between ordinary people and authorities or other elites. He is currently researching local reactions to major recent national policies in the Philippines and Vietnam.

Expertise Areas

  • Comparative Government and Politics
  • Government and Politics of Asia and the Pacific


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