About Us

The Australasian Animal Studies Association (AASA) is the preeminent association for animal studies in the region. Welcoming activists, academics, researchers and interested peoples, AASA provides a hub for research, opportunities and robust discussion in the field of animal studies. Our conferences, masterclasses and prizes draw new and established thinkers, while our regular communication through our website, newsletters and social media brings our growing community together. Join us! 

Vision, Mission and Objectives

Executive Committee:

Dinesh Wadiwel – Chair

Dinesh Wadiwel

Dinesh 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.

lynn mowson – Vice-Chair


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.  Her work ‘feeler’ created for OktoLab is currently exhibited in Germany and touring Australia. Website: https://lynnmowson.com

Peter Chen – Treasurer

Dr Peter J. Chen is a senior lecturer in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney, where he teaches Australian and regional politics, media politics, and public policy. He is the author of Animal welfare in Australia: politics and policy (2016) and Australian politics in a digital age (2013), as well as the co-editor of Double disillusion: the 2016 Australian federal election (2018) and Australian Politics and Public Policy (2019).

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.

General Committee Members

Esther Alloun – General Committee Member


Esther 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)

Sue Pyke – General Committee Member

Sue teaches indigenous studies, creative writing and literature at the University of Melbourne. Her recent monograph, Animal Visions, explores the political potential in posthumanist dream writing (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019) and she is now writing her way around the tiger snakes of Djargurd wurrung country. Other works focused on cross-species relations include her lyrical essay on snake citizenship (in The Materiality of Love Routledge 2017); a literary analysis of violence against people, horses and dogs in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (in Animals in Victorian Literature and Culture, Palgrave Macmillan 2017); an analysis of the ethics in animal advocates’ use of drones (with Claire McCausland and Siobhan O’Sullivan, in Animal Studies Journal 2018); a reading of sublimity and cross-species metamorphosis in contemporary literature (in TEXT, 2017); a consideration of divinity and the literary avian (in Otherness, 2016); and a personal essay about going vegan in the wake of a dairy farming childhood (in Southerly, 2013). More details on these and other publications can be found at https://unimelb.academia.edu/SusanPyke. Sue twitters as @suehallpyke and blogs at http://suehallpyke.com.   

Laura Jean McKay – General Committee Member

Laura Jean McKay is the author of The Animals in That Country (Scribe 2020), shortlisted for the Readings Prize 2020, and Holiday in Cambodia (Black Inc., 2013), which was shortlisted for three national book awards in Australia. Laura has a PhD in Creative Writing with a focus on Literary Animal Studies from The University of Melbourne and is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Massey University, Aotearoa, where she teaches and supervises in prose and poetry, including eco-fiction and -nonfiction. She is the co-host (with Hayley Singer) of Anigram, a new monthly Instagram book show that that celebrates animals on the page, and beyond. Laura’s current research encompasses extinction narratives and animal stories.

Agata Mrva-Montoya – General Committee Member

Dr Agata Mrva-Montoya is currently a lecturer in publishing in the Department in Media and Communication at the University of Sydney. She has been a member of the Human Animal Research Network at Sydney University since 2011. With background in archaeology and publishing, her research interests are divided into two areas: scholarly publishing on the one hand, and the relationship between symbolism, attitude to and treatment of animals in ancient and modern Cyprus on the other. She is commissioning editor of the Animal Publics series at Sydney University Press.

Emily Major – Post Graduate Committee Member

Emily Major is a PhD candidate at the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. Her research uses an antispeciesist Critical Animal Studies lens to consider the ethics of government-sanctioned pest control methods towards the ‘invasive’ brushtail possum in Aotearoa New Zealand, questioning whether positive empathy and/or compassionate conservation could potentially alleviate the mass suffering and unwarranted slaughter of these introduced ‘pest’ animals. Emily’s volunteer work includes academic activism with SAFE (Save Animals From Exploitation) in New Zealand and she is the Canterbury region’s Roots & Shoots coordinator for the Jane Goodall Institute of New Zealand. Most currently, she has become a committee member for the AASA (Australasian Animal Studies Association), hoping to combine her academic and volunteer aspirations towards the protection of animals whom need compassion the most.

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 influence 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:

  • To foster the development of Animal Studies as a field of academic research in Australasia and elsewhere. 
  • To activate and support a community of Animal Studies scholars, artists and advocates.
  • To encourage approaches to Animal Studies that foreground and respect the interests, perspectives and rights of nonhuman animals.
  • To encourage and support the production and publication of scholarly, creative and community work in the field.
  • To promote the work of AASA members both within Australasian academic contexts and internationally.
  • To inform members of local and international Animal Studies events.
  • To achieve these objects by activities which may include, but are not limited to, promoting a biennial Australasian Animal Studies Association Inc. conference, maintaining strong online presence, supporting the biannual scholarly journal Animal Studies Journal, hosting and disseminating strategic communication among members.