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 an Associate Professor 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

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 AASA2015 Animal Publics Conference at the Dax Centre, University of Melbourne 2015,  Animaladies, Sydney 2016 and Animal Intersections, AASA2017 in Adelaide.  Her current work ‘feeler’, created for OktoLab, was exhibited in Hobart and Germany, and a version touring Australia as part of Experimenta Life Forms: International Triennial of Media Art. 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).

Chantelle Bayes – Secretary

Chantelle Bayes is an adjunct researcher, a writer and a sessional lecturer at Griffith University in Queensland. Her research focuses on the relationships between humans and nonhumans (including other animals) in urban environments and in response to urbanisation. She has a forthcoming book titledRewriting Urban Nature: Literary Imaginaries for Posthuman Cities with Liverpool University Press and is working on a book of short stories informed by critical animal studies in collaboration with Josephine Browne. 

General Committee Members

Clare Archer-Lean  – General Committee Member

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.

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.

Arian Wallach – General Committee Member

My work combines ecological science with animal ethics to promote compassionate conservation. I collaborate with landholders to protect wild animals from killing programs in conservation, farming, and commercial practices. My ecological research explores how apex predators and non-native species promote biodiversity. I’ve been based with the Centre for Compassionate Conservation, University of Technology Sydney, since 2015, and will be moving to Queensland University of Technology in 2022 to start a Future Fellowship about the values that shape how we construct and analyse biodiversity data. 

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.


Rowena Lennox – Guest Editor, Animail

Rowena Lennox lives on Gweagal Country and is the author of two books: Dingo Bold: the life and death of K’gari dingoes (Sydney University Press, 2021) about emotional relationships between people and dingoes on K’gari/Fraser Island; and a biography of an East Timorese church leader, Fighting Spirit of East Timor: the life of Martinho da Costa Lopes (Pluto/Zed, 2000), which won a NSW Premier’s History Award. She holds a doctorate of creative arts from the University of Technology Sydney, where she is an honorary adjunct at the Centre for Public History, and her poems, essays and stories have been widely published. Her current research interests are settler colonialism, dingoes, decolonisation and maritime history. Rowena brings her experience as a book editor to her role editing Animail, the online magazine for AASA members.

Natalie Lis – Guest Editor, AASA Updates

Natalie Lis is PhD candidate in the School of Architecture at the University of Queensland. Her research explores how architecture influences bird and human relationships. She investigates how human-built structures such as chicken coops, cockfighting arenas, observation hides, sky burial sites and penguinariums act as an intermediary for material exchanges in addition to cultural and social symbolism. Natalie also works as a casual academic at UQ, tutoring architectural design, theory and history. She has the new role of newsletter coordinator at AASA and works to deliver your fortnightly updates.


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.

Objectives:

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 scholarly journal Animal Studies Journal, hosting and disseminating strategic communication among members.