Benjamin Miller, Ph.D.
Benjamin’s teaching and research focus on the way preconceived notions of self and other shape cross-cultural communication. Rhetorical studies can illuminate who we are and how we see each other to reveal the intricate processes of cross-cultural communication. Benjamin’s approach to rhetoric examines central concerns of postcolonial and whiteness theory using classical and modern rhetorical studies.
Current Research Projects
American Blackface in Australia
What is influence of American blackface minstrelsy on representations of Aboriginality in Australian culture? In extending my doctoral research I argue that blackface entertainment in the nineteenth century united communities of white colonists in America and the British empire. In early Australian culture, blackface entertainment oppressed nonwhite people at the same time as it rebelled against the colonial administration and bourgeoisie.
Legendary Tales of David Unaipon: Aboriginal Writing and Rhetoric
This project investigates the rhetorical practices of David Unaipon (1872-1967). Unaipon's arguments to improve the living conditions of Aboriginal people were crosscultural, drawing on traditional and modern styles of Aboriginal rhetoric as well as ancient and modern styles of western rhetoric. On a broader scale, this study investigates how Australian society and culture have been shaped by rhetorical traditions and innovations, both Aboriginal and western.
"Landscapes of Whiteness: Aboriginality in Chauvel's Early Cinema". Journal of the European Association of Studies on Australia. v2.2 (2011): 127-33.
“Transnational Connectivities of Whiteness: American Blackface in Life in Sydney". Reading Across the Pacific: US-Australian Intellectual Histories. Ed. Nicholas Birns and Robert Dixon. Sydney University Press, 2010.
“Aboriginal Short Stories”. Reading Down Under: An Australian Literary Studies Reader. Ed. Amit Sarwal and Reema Sarwal. New Delhi: SSS Publications, 2009. 205-19.
“Australians in a Vacuum: The ‘Socio-political Stuff’ in Rachel Perkins’ Radiance”. Studies in Australasian Cinema. v2.1 (2008): 61-72.
“David Unaipon’s Style of Subversion: Performativity and Becoming in ‘Gool Lun Naga’”. Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature (JASAL). Special Issue: The Colonial Present (2008): 77-93.
“The Mirror of Whiteness: Blackface in Charles Chauvel’s Jedda”. JASAL. Special Issue: Spectres, Screens, Shadows, Mirrors (2007): 140-156.
“Confusing Epistemologies: Assimilation, Mimicry and Whiteness in David Unaipon’s ‘Confusion of Tongue’”. Altitude. v6 (2005).
Selected Presentations and Workshops
“Allegories of Aboriginality: Bindi Cole’s Photography”. Indigenous Literatures Colloquium. University of Sydney, 2011.
“Beneath the Blackface They Were White: Blackface in Life in Sydney”. Reading Across the Pacific: Australian-US Intellectual Histories. University of Sydney, 2010.
“Happiness to the Inhabitants of Norwood Vale: Henry Melville’s Norwood Vale (1834)”. ASAL Annual Conference. Common Readers. Canberra, 2009.
Faculty of Arts Excellence in Teaching (Practice) Award, 2008.
International EduBlog Award for Best Educational Wiki, 3rd Place, 2009.
Graduate Certificate of Teaching (Higher Education)
University of Sydney
University of New South Wales
B.A. (Honours Class 1) English
University of Wollongong
- Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL)
- Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association (ACRAWSA)