Ben Quail

Fulbright All Disciplines Scholar Award - University of Texas - Austin

Why leave the rain of Glasgow for the sunshine of Texas? Well, besides the obvious improvement in the weather, Austin is where any researcher interested in the 1960s, and in Pacific-American relations, should be. The University of Texas at Austin hosts not only the archives of President Lyndon Johnson - the first sitting US President to visit Australia - but also one of the only dedicated centers for the study of Australia and New Zealand in North America. 

Johnson and Australia are at the heart of Ben Quail's project, which examines how interpersonal relations evolved between Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt. The two men made fast friends, formed an advantageous political relationship for both countries, and set the tone for future US-Australian relations from the 1960s to the trilateral AUKUS agreement of the 2020s. This research asks key questions: did Johnson’s friendship with Holt affect relations between Australia and America, or did diplomacy affect Johnson’s relationship with Holt? Which is more important in the development of policy between the two countries? 

The work builds on Ben's previous research and teaching in the area. Having completed a master's degree researching US post-war foreign policy in Europe, Ben became interested in the relationship between President Johnson, Vietnam, and foreign policy. This research led to a PhD at the University of Strathclyde reviewing the administration's attempts to sell foreign and domestic policies to the American people which was adapted into a research monograph in 2019. Ben is excited to further this research by focusing on a key military ally in Australia, and to be able to spend time attending concerts in Austin, which, like Glasgow, is well-known for live music!