Australasian Animal Studies Association

Inaugural AASA Prizes Awarded

Inaugural AASA Prizes Awarded

On the last day of the AASA2021 Conference: Flourishing Animals, we met to award the two new AASA Prizes:

The 2021 AASA Journal Article by an Early Career Researcher Prize     

This prize recognises excellence in the work of early-career researchers.  The prize is focused on the work of scholars in the production of scholarly journal articles in the field of animal studies. 

The 2021 AASA Popular Communication of Animal Studies Prize

This Prize is awarded to a member or members of the Association who have worked systematically to promote the insights and research findings of their peers in the field of Animal Studies, therein increasing public awareness of the field and its value to human-animal relations.  

The 2021 AASA Journal Article by an Early Career Researcher Prize     

The Prize for 2021 AASA Journal Article was awarded to: Dr Brodie Evans for their paper titled “Contesting and reinforcing the future of ‘meat’ through problematization: Analyzing the discourses in regulatory debates around animal cell-cultured meat”.

The article, co-authored with fellow ECR, Dr Hope Johnson, examined how discourse plays a central role in the governance of food systems and how this directly impacts the lives and bodies of animals tied up in these systems. The article critiques the framing that animal cell-cultured meat is vital to the future of agriculture, suggesting this space alternatively needs increased activism to challenge these assumed truths. Whilst analysing how discourse is used to reinforce animal agriculture, the article consistently kept the interests of the animals at the fore.

It is important for Animal Studies to recognise research which critiques the status quo and advocates for change. One of AASA’s core objectives is to “encourage approaches to Animal Studies that foreground and respect the interests, perspectives and rights of nonhuman animals”. This paper did just that.

2021 AASA Popular Communication of Animal Studies Prize

The award for Popular Communication of Animal Studies was awarded to Claudia Hirtenfelder. This is a significant prize. Knowledge Translation in an accessible medium is central to Associate Professor O’Sullivan’s incredible contribution to Animal Studies Scholarship internationally. Such communiques are imperative in creating conditions necessary to improve the lives of nonhuman animals.Ms Hirtenfelder is awarded the prize for sustained and innovative work carried out in developing, hosting and producing the Animal Turn Podcast February 2020-to present day. Accessibility and multimodal forms of engagement drive The Animal Turn podcast, available on podcast services and via a host-constructed website. The website is visually beautiful, celebrating animals through appealing artistic animal representations on every page and easy to navigate. It includes not just the podcast but associated videos, reading lists, and in the spirit of knowledge transference, recommendations for other podcasts. There are also blogs developed by Ms Hirtenfelder and guest contributors in response to episode topics and debates. An excellent feature is a real time calendar which features local and international events in Animal Studies. The Animal Turn is not just a podcast, but an archive to distill and enact significant scholarship and promote scholarly events.

Through her compelling work on The Animal Turn, Claudia Hirtenfelder fully responds to the Siobhan O’Sullivan Prize for Animal Studies Knowledge Translation. The work is aurally, intellectually and visually engaging, opening up the field in accessible ways. The Animal Turn is centralising animals to stimulate debate and discussion for graduate student audiences and far beyond. The judges commend Ms Hirtenfelder on her achievement and look forward to the continuing impact of the program.

The Prizes were generously supported by Associate Professor Siobhan O’Sullivan, a founding member of AASA and active leader in the Animal Studies community.

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