Politics and Visiting Fellow, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, UNSW Canberra
Carlyle (Carl) Alan Thayer is Emeritus Professor of Politics, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, The University of New South Wales (UNSW) at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA), Canberra. He is also Director of Thayer Consultancy, a small business registered in Australia in 2002 that provides political analysis of current regional security issues and other research support to selected clients.
Carl Thayer was educated at Brown University where he majored in Political Science (B.A. 1967). He holds an M.A. in Southeast Asian Studies from Yale (1971) and a PhD in International Relations from The Australian National University (ANU, 1977). After graduating from Brown, Carl served in the Republic of Vietnam with the International Voluntary Services (1967-68) and as a volunteer secondary school teacher in the Republic of Botswana with the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (1968-69).
Thayer commenced his academic career as Lecturer at the Bendigo Institute of Technology, Victoria in 1975 (renamed the Bendigo College of Advanced Education in 1976). In 1979, he joined The University of New South Wales (UNSW) and taught first in its Faculty of Military Studies at The Royal Military College-Duntroon (1979-85) and then at the Australian Defence Force Academy (1985-2010). He served as Head of the School of Politics from 1995-97. In 1998, he was promoted to full Professor. During 2007-08 and 2010 he directed Regional Security Studies at the Australian Command and Staff College. Upon retirement in 2010 he was conferred the title Emeritus Professor.
Thayer served three major periods away from UNSW@ADFA:
From 1992-95, he was seconded to the Regime Change and Regime Maintenance Project, Department of Political and Social Change, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, ANU to conduct research on Vietnamese domestic politics.
From 1999-2002, he was granted ‘leave in the national interest’ to take up the position of Professor of Southeast Asian Security Studies and Deputy Chair of the Department of Regional Studies at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS), U.S. Pacific Command, Hawaii. He revised the curriculum for the Executive Course and helped design the Senior Executive Course (two-three star/vice-ministerial level).
From 2002 to 2004, Carl was seconded to Deakin University as On-Site Academic Co-ordinator of the Defence and Strategic Studies Course, Australia’s senior defence course, at the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies (CDSS) at the Australian Defence College, Weston Creek.
During his career, Professor Thayer undertook special study leave at the ANU’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre; Harvard’s Center for International Affairs; International Institute of Strategic Studies in London; Institute of Strategic and International Studies, Chulalongkorn University in Thailand; Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore; and the Department of Political Science at Yale. In 1993, in a career highlight, he was appointed a United Nations Observer for elections in Cambodia.
Service to the Profession