Anthony Milner (historian)

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Professor Anthony Milner[1] is an Australian historian of Southeast Asia and a commentator on Australia-Asia relationships. Author of a much-cited work, Kerajaan, and a number of other books on Malay history and political culture, he is also editor of a series of volumes, Australia in Asia (see below). Currently, Anthony Milner is Basham Professor of Asian History at the Australian National University and Professorial Fellow at Asialink, The University of Melbourne. He was Dean of Asian Studies at the Australian National University (1996-2005).

Anthony Milner has been concerned with the historical and cultural processes that shape the Asian region, and influence Australia’s opportunities and security. He is described, sometimes critically, as adopting a post-modern approach.[2][3] Milner has been a strong advocate of Track II diplomacy – arguing that the globalising and democratising of international relations demands an enhanced role for non-government interaction.[4][5]

Milner has played a leading role in the development of the Australian-ASEAN dialogue, the ‘Asialink Conversations’, and in the establishment of an Australia-New Zealand dialogue with the influential network ASEAN-ISIS. While acknowledging the Howard Government‘s (1996-2008) practical achievements in Asia policy, Milner lamented its neglect of Asia education and the general ‘narrowing of cultural horizons on the part of the Australian community’.[6][7]

Milner is Co-Chair of the Australian Committee of the Council for Security Cooperation in Asia-Pacific. He has also been Member at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton and Raffles Visiting Professor of History at the National University of Singapore. He was Director of the Australia-Asia Perceptions Project of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. He has been a member of the Australian Government’s Foreign Affairs Council since 1998 and was a member of the Founding Committees of the Government’s Australia-Malaysia Institute and Australia-Thailand Institute.

Milner received his B.A from Monash University and Ph.D. from Cornell University under John Legge and Oliver Wolters. He also worked with the leading international cultural anthropologist Clifford Geertz.


Awarded Member of the Order of Australia in 2007 for “service to education in the field of Asian studies as an academic and author, and to international relations through the development of cross-cultural education and outreach activities”.[8] He was elected a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia in 1995.

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