About Us

Vision, Mission and Objectives

Executive Committee:

Philip Armstrong – Chair

PA_June_2017Philip Armstrong is Professor of English at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, and the Co-Director of the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies. He is the author of Sheep (Reaktion, 2016), What Animals Mean (Routledge, 2008), and, with Annie Potts and Deidre Brown, A New Zealand Book of Beasts: Animals in Our History, Culture, and Everyday Life (Auckland UP, 2013). With Laurence Simmons, he is the editor of Knowing Animals (Brill, 2007). Website: http://www.canterbury.ac.nz/arts/schools-and-departments/english/contact-us/academic-staff/philip-armstrong.html.

Lynn Mowson – Vice-Chair

LynnWolfsmall lynn is a sculptor and animals advocate.  lynn is currently a research assistant at the University of Melbourne.   She was awarded her PhD for her practice-led sculptural research entitled ‘beautiful little dead things: empathy, witnessing, trauma and animals’ suffering’ from the VCA.  The sculptures created through this research feature in the book The Art of the Animal, Lantern Press 2015, and exhibition SPOM: Sexual Politics of Meat, The Animal Museum, LA, 2017.  Lynn exhibited in Creaturely Feelings, at the Animal Publics Conference at the Dax Centre, University of Melbourne 2015,  Animaladies, Sydney 2016 and Animal Intersections, Adelaide 2017.  Website: https://lynnmowson.com

Gonzalo Villanueva – Treasurer

GonzaloGonzalo is a Gilbert Postdoctoral Career Development Fellow at the University of Melbourne. He is the author of the forthcoming book, A Transnational History of the Australian Animal Movement, 1970-2015 (London: Palgrave Macmillan). His research has been published in the Australian Journal of Politics and History, History Australia, and The Conversation. His current project broadly aims to explore the role of animals in Australian history.



Clare Archer-Lean  –  Secretary

Discipline Leader, English Literature, University of the Sunshine Coast

Clare’s research focuses on the ways in which literary and cultural representations of animals inform human perceptions of their own identities and their place in the natural environment. She has chapter, monograph and literary articles on animals in literature particularly in Indigenous story telling. She is also experienced in trans-disciplinary approaches and is lead investigator on a $25 000 competitive state funded (DSITIA, Qld) project on communication, values and dingoes on Fraser Island, 2015.

Rick De Vos  – Membership Secretary

evRick is an Adjunct Research Fellow in the Centre for Culture and Technology at Curtin University, currently completing a monograph on anthropogenic extinction, its cultural significance and the way it is articulated and practiced. Prior to this Rick spent over twenty years teaching and conducting research in the areas of Cultural Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Performance Studies, Film and Television, Literature and Indigenous Australian research.  Rick has been a member of AASG/AASA since 2005, and, as a researcher who generally works independently, he has drawn great benefit from the information generated by, and the conferences organised by this group, as well as its collegiality.

Esther Alloun – Postgraduate Committee Member

EstherEsther Alloun is PhD candidate, Sessional Tutor and Research Assistant in the School of Humanities and Social Inquiry at the University of Wollongong. Her research project investigates the emergence and rapid rise of veganism and animal activism within the contested context of Palestine-Israel, and how questions of race, nationalism and settler colonialism are connected to animal politics. She is also interested in intersectional feminisms and has published on ecofeminism and veganism. You can find her work on Academia and follow her on Twitter (@EstherAlloun)

Melissa Boyde – General Committee Member

Minstrel-and-Melissa-300x215Melissa is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of the Arts, English and Media at the University of Wollongong.  Melissa is a curator and researcher in Australian modernist art.  Her research in animal studies has a particular focus on the lives of cows, including the boys, and the cattle industries in Australia.  A previous chair of AASA (2011-2015), Melissa is the founder and chief editor of the Animal Studies Journal and co-editor, with Fiona Probyn-Rapsey, of the Animal Publics book series published by Sydney University Press. 

Nik Taylor – General Committee Member

nik-and-lokiNik is an Associate Professor in Sociology at Flinders University where she researches various aspects of human-animal interaction including links between human and animal directed violence, methodological issues in studying human-animal relationships and the role(s) of power/knowledge in structuring human oppression of animals.  She is the Managing Editor (Social Sciences) of Society & Animals; a charter scholar of the Animals and Society Institute; a member of the Human-Animal Studies Executive Committee at the Animals & Society Institute, a Board member of the International Society for Anthrozoology and an Associate Member of the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies at the University of Canterbury.  Nik is also an editorial board member of Anthrozoos.  She has published numerous books and articles on human-animal relations, the latest of which include The Rise of Critical Animal Studies: From the Margins to the Centre (with Richard Twine, Routledge 2014); Humans, Animals and Society: An Introduction to Human-Animal Studies (Lantern Books, 2013) and Animals at Work: Identity, Politics and Culture in work with Animals (with Lindsay Hamilton, Brill Academic, 2013).

Christine Townend – General Committee Member

 CETChristine founded Animal Liberation in Australia in 1976 and together with Peter Singer founded what is now called Animals Australia in 1980. She is an author with 7 published books, her most recent being a poetry collection, Walking with Elephants, published by Island Press. She holds a Doctorate from the University of Sydney. Her book, Pulling the Wool (1986) led to a Senate Inquiry into Animal Welfare examining the Australian sheep and wool industry. From 1990 to 2006 she was managing trustee of an animal shelter in Jaipur and during this time founded two animal shelters in Kalimpong and Darjeeling.

Dinesh Wadiwel- General Committee Member

Dinesh WadiwelDinesh Wadiwel is a Senior Lecturer and Director of the Master of Human Rights at the University of Sydney. Dinesh  is convenor of the Human Animal Research Network (HARN) at The University of Sydney, a cross disciplinary collaboration of animal studies oriented scholars. His research interests include sovereignty and the nature of rights, violence, race and critical animal studies. He is author of the monograph The War against Animals (Brill, 2015). Dinesh is currently researching a book that explores Marx, capitalism and animals.



Tania Signal – General Committee Member


Vision, Mission and Objectives

AASA Mission:

To activate a community of animal studies scholars, scientists, creative artists and animal advocates. To encourage cross-national and disciplinary exchange and, more particularly, to promote work that has animals and human-animal relations in Australasia as a focus.

AASA Vision:

For animals and their relationships with humans and environments to be at the forefront of humane and rigorous scholarly, scientific and artistic enquiry. And for this cross-disciplinary intellectual and creative work to inform and infiltrate the treatment and understanding of animals in national, state and local educational institutions, industries and decision making forums.


The objectives of the Australasian Animal Studies Association are to:

  • Hold a biennial Australasian Animal Studies Association national conference and provide a forum for transdisciplinarity and knowledge exchange;
  • Promote local meetings, symposiums and conference presentations by Human-Animal Studies scholars.
  • Produce a regular bulletin that is distributed via email and the AASA website;
  • Encourage and support publication and production of scholarly and creative works in the field;
  • Maintain the AASA website and promote national and international events and encourage participation in the field;
  • Facilitate discussion through the AASA list-serv;
  • Develop a database of AASA participants and document their research interests, methods, outputs and expressions of interest in collaborative projects;
  • Support the protection of animals;
  • Encourage the development of human-animal studies as a field of academic research.