Dr Benito Cao

Dr Benito Cao
 Position Senior Lecturer
 Org Unit Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
 Email benito.cao@adelaide.edu.au
 Telephone +61 8 8313 5745
 Location Floor/Room 4 09 ,  Napier ,   North Terrace
  • Biography/ Background

    I was born in Galicia, a region of Spain situated on the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula. I studied politics at the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain), and moved to Adelaide in 1996, where I completed Honours in 1998 and graduated as Doctor of Philosophy in 2008. I have been teaching politics at the University of Adelaide since 2002. I love going to the cinema and playing sports. I watch films as often as possible and I play indoor soccer every week in a team called McHever. I also like watching television. Some of my favourite programs are: Four Corners, Foreign Correspondent, SBS World News, and So You Think You Can Dance, and Have You Been Paying Attention? Some of my favourite series are: Yes Minister, Black Adder, Red Dwarf, Seinfeld, Boston Legal, American Dad, The Sopranos, The IT Crowd, Breaking Bad, True Blood, The Bridge and The Killing. The best ever tv series: The Wire. I am currently following House of Cards, Game of Thrones, Better Call Saul, and The Walking Dead. I love food, wine, sport and cinema, including the Adelaide Cinemateque and the Adelaide Film Festival. Cheers!

  • Qualifications

    • Doctor of Philosophy (2008) - The University of Adelaide (Australia)

    Doctoral Thesis: “White Hegemony in the Land of Carnival:

    The (Apparent) Paradox of Racism and Hybridity in Brazil”.


    • Bachelor of Arts [Honours - First Class] (1998) - The University of Adelaide (Australia)

    Honours Thesis: “Africa Lost in Transit:

    The Social Imaginary of Africa in Current Western Cinema”.


    • Bachelor of Arts (1996) - The University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain)
  • Awards & Achievements

    Beacon Commendation for the Enhancement and Innovation

    of Student Learning. The University of Adelaide 2016

    Executive Dean's Prize for Excellence in Teaching 2016

    Faculty of Arts - The University of Adelaide

    Faculty Prize for Excellence in Teaching [Continuing] 2016

    Faculty of Arts - The University of Adelaide

    Nominee to The Unijobs Lecturer of the Year Award 2013

    3rd Top Lecturer from The University of Adelaide

    Nominee to The Unijobs Lecturer of the Year Award 2012

    1st Top Lecturer from The University of Adelaide

    Executive Dean's Prize for Excellence in Teaching                            2011

                   HUMSS Faculty - The University of Adelaide

    Nominee to The Unijobs Lecturer of the Year Award                       2011

                   6th Top Lecturer from The University of Adelaide

    Faculty Prize for Excellence in Teaching [Early Career]                     2010

                   HUMSS Faculty - The University of Adelaide

    Nominee to The Unijobs Lecturer of the Year Award                       2010

                   6th Top Lecturer from The University of Adelaide


    DR Stranks Postgraduate Travelling Fellowship                                 2001

                   The University of Adelaide (Australia)

    University of Adelaide Scholarship (UAS)                                  1998-2001

                   The University of Adelaide (Australia)

    Scholarship Award for Departmental Collaboration                1995-1996

                   Ministry of Education and Science (Spain)

  • Teaching Interests

    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 been teaching since 2002. I began as a tutor at the University of Adelaide but have also worked also at UniSA and Flinders University. Over the years I have taught many courses: Introduction to International Politics, Introduction to Comparative Politics, The Comparative Politics of Leadership, The State of the World, Post-Cold War International Relations, Politics, Power & Popular CultureThe Ethics of War and Peace, Citizenship and Globalisation, Europe Today: Politics, Identity, Conflict, and Global Politics at the University of Adelaide; Governance and Citizenship in Australia, Political Economy and Social Policy, Society and Culture, Studies in Family, The Individual in Society, and Social Analysis and the Human Services at the University of South Australia; and Social Policy at Flinders University.


    I have also given guest lectures on topics such as: identity politics, media politics, social work and NGOs, cinematic representations of Africa, corporate social responsibility, environmental citizenship, and politics in Brazil.


    This year (2019) I am teaching Citizenship and Globalisation (Semester 1), Environment and Citizenship (Winter School), and Introduction to Global Politics (Semester 2). I will also be conducting a study tour to Singapore ("Inside Singapore: History, Politics, Identity") in Term 4 (Nov 25 - Dec 6).

  • Research Interests

    • Citizenship, particularly Environmental Citizenship;
    • Nation and State, Nationalism, and Multiculturalism;
    • Racism, Ethnic Relations, and the Politics of Identity;
    • Power, Politics and Popular Culture (Cultural Studies);
    • Development, Global Governance and Democratisation;
    • Innovation in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. 
  • Publications




    Environment and Citizenship.  London and New York: Routledge (2015). link here


    Book Chapters


    Consuming Environmental Citizenship, or The Production of Neoliberal Green Citizens. In Jonathon Louth and Martin Potter (eds.), Edges of Identity: The Production of Neoliberal Subjectivities. Chester: Chester University Press (2017), pp. 25-51.


    Dam-nation: The struggle over the future of the Brazilian Amazon. In Timothy Doyle and Sherilyn MacGregor (eds.), Environmental Movements around the World. Oxford: Praeger (2014), Vol. I, pp. 49-75.


    Environment and Citizenship: Rethinking What It Means to Be a Citizen in the 21st Century. In James Arvanitakis and Ingrid Matthews (eds.), The Citizen in the 21st Century. Inter-Disciplinary Press (2013), pp. 155-166. 


    Thinking critically about critical thinking in the first-year experience. [co-authored with Christine Beasley] In Heather Brook, Deane Fergie, Michael Maeorg and Dee Michell (eds.), Universities in Transition: Forefrounding Social Contexts of Knowledge in the First Year Experience. Adelaide: The University of Adelaide Press (2014), pp. 205-227.


    Descubrimiento como Ideología: El Descubrimiento de Asia en el Humanismo Portugués. [Discovery as Ideology: The Discovery of Asia in Portuguese Humanism] In Colóquio Internacional: O Humanismo Latino e as Culturas do Extremo Oriente. Treviso: Fondazione Cassamarca (2006), pp. 33-53. [published in Spanish]


    Journal Articles


    Race, politics and education in Brazil, Social Identities, Vol. 23, No. 4 (2017), pp. 493-499.


    Identity and Community in the Asia-Pacific, Journal of the Indian Ocean Region, Vol. 13, No. 3 (2017), pp. 355-359.


    Women's empowerment in the Global South, Journal of the Indian Ocean Region, Vol. 13, No. 1 (2017), pp. 119-124.


    Beyond Empire: Australian cinematic identity in the twenty-first century, Studies in Australasian Cinema, Vol. 6, No. 3 (2012), pp. 239-250. 


    Identity and Citizenship, Social Identities, Vol.18, No. 3 (2012), pp. 373-379.


    Transforming first-year university Politics students into critical thinkers, ergo: The Journal of the Education Research Group of Adelaide, Vol. 2, No. 3 (2012), 41-52. [with Christine Beasley]


    Race Matters in Brazil, Social Identities, Vol.17, No. 5 (2011), pp. 709-716.


    White Hegemony in the (Re)Birth of Brazil, Humanities Research, Vol.27, No. 1 (2011), pp. 35-57.


    Conference Papers


    Africa Lost in Transit: The Representation of Africa in European Imagination. In Actas del Congreso Africa Camina. Barcelona: LISA & Generalitat de Catalunya (2006). [published in cd-rom]


  • Professional Associations

    • AIIA (Australian Institute of International Affairs)
    • NTEU (National Tertiary Education Industry Union)
    • HERGA (Higher Education Research Group of Adelaide)
    • CCDHR (Centre for Citizenship, Development & Human Rights)
    • AILASA (Association of Iberian & Latin American Studies of Australasia)
  • Community Engagement

    I was an active member of the Goodwood Community Bank Steering Committee that led to the establishment of a community bank in Goodwood (City of Unley, Adelaide) in 2004. The closing of the last of three major-bank branches made people in the community very upset and opened the way for the establishment of a community bank. It took lots of hours of hard community work to get the project off the ground, but we got there in the end, and now the residents of Goodwood not only have a bank in the area … we have our own local community bank.

    This is the link to the homepage of the Goodwood Community Bank Branch:


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Entry last updated: Friday, 15 Feb 2019

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