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Tim Causer

Dr Tim Causer

Member of the Advisory Board of Menzies Australia Institute


Tim Causer is a Principal Research Fellow at the Bentham Project in University College London’s Faculty of Laws. He joined the Bentham Project in 2010. Until 2015 he was responsible for the co-ordination of the award-winning crowdsourced transcription initiative, Transcribe Bentham, and worked on the European Commission-funded tranScriptorium programme, which developed solutions for the searching, indexing, and full transcription by computers of historic handwritten manuscripts.

Tim is co-editor, with Professor Philip Schofield, of Panopticon versus New South Wales and other writings on Australia (2022) for the new authoritative edition of The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham. The texts in the volume shed light on debates around colonialism, the punishment of criminals, Bentham’s unsuccessful panopticon penitentiary scheme, and contain his influential critique of criminal transportation to New South Wales, and of the establishment of the penal colony itself.

He is also co-editor, with Professor Margot Finn and Professor Schofield, of the essay collection Jeremy Bentham and Australia: Convicts, Utility, and Empire (2022), and is the author of Memorandoms by James Martin (2017), an edition of the earliest Australian convict narrative, the original manuscript of which is in UCL’s Bentham manuscript collection. The Memorandoms is the only first-hand account of perhaps the most famous escape from Australia by transported convicts, that led by Mary and William Bryant in March 1791.

Tim’s current projects include co-editing, with Professor Schofield and Dr Chris Riley, the final two volumes of Bentham’s Correspondence, and of ‘Auto-Icon; or, the Farther Uses of the Dead to the Living’, Bentham’s treatise on the utility of human remains.

Tim carried out his doctoral research from 2006 to 2009 at the then Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, under the supervision of Professor Carl Bridge and Dr Ian Henderson. His project, supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, examined the lives of the convicts of the notorious Norfolk Island penal station, which operated from 1825 to 1855.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, holds an MA (Hons, first class) and an MLitt, both in history, from the University of Aberdeen, and appeared as a convict extra in the 2008 ABC/BBC drama The Last Confession of Alexander Pearce, based upon the true story of absconders from Macquarie Harbour in Van Diemen’s Land who ate each other to survive.