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Benjamin David Penny (born 27 October 1959) is an Australian academic specialising in religious and spiritual movements in modern and contemporary China. He is a Harold White Fellow at the National Library of Australia.[1]

Benjamin Penny
Born (1959-10-27) 27 October 1959 (age 59)
Melbourne, Australia
EducationNewington College
University of Sydney
University of Cambridge
Australian National University
OccupationAssociate professor
research fellow,
School of Culture, History & Language
Australian National University
College of Asia and the Pacific
WebsiteBenjamin Penny at NLA

His area of speciality is Falun Gong as well as the interpretation of Chinese religions by westerners and the history of the religions of Chinese Australians.[2] The Times Literary Supplement states that in 'The Religion of the Falun Gong' Penny "makes a good case for defining Falun Gong as a modern Chinese religion. . . . [He] provides an admirable guide to the short history of Falun Gong and the eclectic complexities of its doctrine, which he sets within the framework of indigenous religious belief over the centuries."[3]


Family and educationEdit

Penny is the younger brother of professor Simon Penny (born 1955) who is a theorist, curator and teacher in the field of Interactive Media Art. Benjamin Penny was born in Melbourne and attended Newington College (1972–1977).[4] He was awarded a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney, a Master of Philosophy from University of Cambridge and a PhD from the Australian National University.

Benjamin has a son.


After university study, Penny was a post-doctoral fellow at the ANU. From 1999 until 2005, he was the first Executive Officer of the Herbert and Valmae Freilich Foundation. During the years 2003 and 2004 he was a research fellow at the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research. Penny was appointed to the Division of Pacific and Asian History in October 2005. Since January 2010 he has been Deputy Director, and a Research Fellow, at the School of Culture, History & Language ANU College of Asia and the Pacific.[5]


  • Harold White Fellow[1]
  • The Religion of Falun Gong won Choice Magazine's Outstanding Academic Title Awards.[6]

Selected publicationsEdit


  1. ^ a b Harold White Fellow. Retrieved 14 January 2015
  2. ^ Dr Benjamin Penny, Deputy Director, Australian Centre on China in the World. Retrieved 14 January 2015
  3. ^ The Religion of Falun Gong – Editorial Reviews. Retrieved 30 January 2015
  4. ^ Newington College Register of Past Students 1863–1998 (Syd, 1999) pp155
  5. ^ ANU Researcher. Retrieved 14 January 2015
  6. ^ Choice Magazine: CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title Awards University of Chicago Press
  7. ^ Penny, Benjamin (2012), The religion of Falun Gong, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0-226-65501-7
  8. ^ University of Chicago Press. Retrieved 14 January 2015
  9. ^ The Religion of the Falun Gong University of Toronto Library
  10. ^ Dr Benjamin Penny. Retrieved 14 January 2015
  11. ^ Penny, Benjamin; Liu, Cunren (2005), Daoism in history : essays in honour of Liu Tsʼun-yan, Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-34852-2
  12. ^ Penny, Benjamin (2002), Religion and biography in China and Tibet, Curzon, ISBN 978-0-7007-1177-2