About Us

Vision, Mission and Objectives

Executive Committee:

Please bear with us as we update this information with the details of the new Committee, as per the AGM. 

Melissa Boyde – Chair


Melissa 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. 

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.  Website: https://lynnmowson.com

Gonzalo Villanueva – Treasurer


Gonzalo 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.

Sharri Lembryk – Membership Secretary

Sharri is a research assistant and PhD candidate in Philosophy at the University of New South Wales, where she studies under the supervision of Simon Lumsden, Karyn Lai, and Joanne Faulkner. Her work is focused on problems of ignorance and injustice, with regard to non-human animals, and engages extensively with feminist and post-colonial epistemology. Sharri’s undergraduate and honours degrees were from the University of Wollongong, where the wealth of animal studies scholars provided a rich bed from which to grow.

Esther Alloun – Postgraduate 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)

Dinesh Wadiwel- General Committee Member

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.

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.   

Emily Major – General 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.

Erin Jones –  General Committee Member

Erin is a PhD candidate at the University of Canterbury in Human-Animal Studies. Her current research focuses on the dog-human dyad by bridging ethological studies with social science to untangle the vexing ethical issues that affect our companion dogs including consent, autonomy, and the adoption of humane training. Erin completed her MSc in Anthrozoology at Canisius College in New York, and BSc in Psychology and Anthropology at Trent University in Ontario, Canada. She has worked as a TA and guest lecturer in Animal Physiology and Advanced Animal Behaviour at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada. Erin is also a Certified Dog Behaviour Consultant (CDBC) with the International Association of Animal Behaviour Consultants and has worked in the animal behaviour field for 10 years

Natasha Fijn – General Committee Member

Dr Natasha Fijn is an ethnographic researcher and observational filmmaker based at the ANU Mongolia Institute. She is currently part of an ARC Discovery team focussing on the transfer of knowledge relating to multispecies Mongolian Medicine and One Health. Natasha has conducted extensive field research in remote places, including the Khangai Mountains of Mongolia and Arnhem Land in northern Australia, focussing particularly on multispecies ethnography, more-than-human sociality and concepts of domestication. She was awarded a Fejos Fellowship in Ethnographic Film, by the Wenner-Gren Foundation to make a documentary ‘Two Seasons: multispecies medicine in Mongolia’ during 2017. Natasha was a Research Fellow as part of ‘Domestication in the Era of the Anthropocene’ at the Centre for Advanced Studies in Oslo in 2016. Earlier, she held a College of the Arts and Social Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the ANU (2011-2014). She has edited two monographs, was the multimedia review editor for TAPJA and has edited two themed journal issues, focussing on visual anthropology and observational filmmaking. Her book, ‘Living with Herds: human-animal coexistence in Mongolia’ was published by Cambridge University Press in 2011. Natasha is also currently President of Plumwood, a conservation organisation acting as stewards for the land at Plumwood Mountain.

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 Association’s biannual scholarly journal, Animal Studies Journal, hosting and disseminating strategic communication among members.