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EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Meet the Team


An Executive Committee of seven elected directors manages the affairs of the Society. The Executive Committee works closely with and supervises the functions performed by the (part-time) AAS Administrator. Other office bearers include the Public Officer, the Editor of The Australian Journal of Anthropology (TAJA), and the Chairperson of the Australian Network of Student Anthropologists (ANSA).

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Executive Committee 2024


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President
President

Dr Tim Pilbrow

Acting President and President Elect
Email: tim.pilbrow@socialcontext.com.au

I trained as a socio-cultural anthropologist (PhD, MPhil, MA, New York University) focusing on the ethnography of collective identities, the socially integrative dimensions of conflict and dispute, and the social and cultural embeddedness of language and communicative practices.
My doctoral work focused on the transformation of collective identity narratives, grounded in field work in Bulgaria in the mid-1990s, during a period of rapid social change following the fall of state socialism. As an undergraduate I studied linguistics and anthropology at Monash University, where I received first class honours in Slavic linguistics, following a period of study and fieldwork in (then) Yugoslavia. I have been a Member of the American Anthropological Association since 1993 and a fellow of the Australian Anthropological Society since 2006.  

After a brief academic teaching career in the USA, I returned to Australia, and developed a career in research for native title and Traditional Owner settlements in Victoria as Senior Anthropologist and Research Manager at First Nations Legal & Research Services, and since 2019 as an independent consultant. I have more recently begun shifting my focus to the challenges of organisational culture, aspiring to help organizations uncover and utilize the tacit knowledge embedded in their processes and relationships.  

I have always been deeply curious about people and communities, and the way language and culture are constantly being shaped through social interactions. Along the way I realized that I am a design-oriented systems thinker, and my real passion is helping organizations create better alignments between systems and the people that use them. This led me seek further training in communication and collaboration skills, including transformative mediation, Deep Democracy facilitation, user experience design, and Strategic Doing. I am developing an integrated practice weaving together ethnography, co-design and collaborative engagement practices.  


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President Emeritus/a
President Emeritus/a

Dr Malini Sur

Email: m.sur@westernsydney.edu.au

 

Malini Sur is an Associate Professor in Anthropology and Director of Higher Degree Research and Teaching at Western Sydney University. She was elected Ordinary Director at AAS (2021) and served as the AAS President in 2023. Malini's research and teaching relate to global and local challenges facing transnational migration and mobility. Trained in comparative, historical, and visual methods, she is noted for her contributions within and beyond academia. Her research has been funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC), Dutch Research Council (NWO), Ministry of Education Singapore and awareds from the Tata Trusts.

 

Malini's book Jungle Passports: Fences, Mobility, and Citizenship at the Northeast India-Bangladesh Border (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021) was awarded the President's Book Prize from the South Asian Studies Association of Australia, Bernard S. Cohen Prize (honourable mention) and Choice Outstanding Academic Title (2022). She has published inCultural AnthropologyComparative Studies in Society and History and Modern Asian StudiesHer work features in Public Books New York, New Books Network, Conversations in Anthropology and The Polis Project. A/P Sur has also commented widely in the media including the ABC.

Malini is currently leading three research projects that build on and extend her decade long work on transnational migration. These address three interconnected lines of enquiry - border-making, gendered identities, and cultural diversity in Australia. She has worked and held fellowships at the Australian National University, University of Amsterdam, University of Toronto, National Univrsity of Singapore, and the Social Science Research Council (New York). Her first documentary film Life Cycle has been screed at Perth, Sydeny, Canberra, Baltimore, Santiage, Singapore, Kolkata, and New York. Funded by an ARC "Collaborative Museums," Malini is currently completing a documentary film on the Parramatta/Burramatta River.


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Secretary
Secretary

Dr Gretchen Stolte

Email: gretchen.stolte@uwa.edu.au

Dr Stolte is a Nimi’ipuu (Nez Perce) Native American and has degrees in art history and anthropology focusing on the material culture of First Nations peoples both on Turtle Island (North America) and so-called Australia. Dr Stolte’s research areas focus on the relationship between cultural objects and identity and has published extensively about practice-based research, cultural protocols and the responsibility of western institutions in Indigenous cultural spaces. Dr Stolte is currently the anthropology discipline lead and lecturer at the School of Social Sciences at the University of Western Australia. She is also a practicing bead artist, weaver and ribbon-skirt maker. 


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Treasurer
Treasurer

Dr Richard Martin

Email: r.martin3@uq.edu.au

 

Richard Martin is a Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Queensland, and the author of The Gulf Country: The story of people and place in outback Queensland (Allen & Unwin, 2019). He is currently working on the ARC funded projects The Queensland Atlas of Religion and Testing the Dark Emu Hypothesis. In addition to his academic research and teaching, Martin has authored anthropological reports about Australian native title claims and given expert evidence in the Federal Court. 


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Ordinary Director
Ordinary Director

Dr Sophie Chao

Email: sophie.chao@sydney.edu.au

Sophie Chao is of Sino-French heritage and lives on unceded Gadigal lands in Sydney, Australia. She is currently Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) Fellow and Lecturer in the Discipline of Anthropology at the University of Sydney. Chao’s research investigates the intersections of Indigeneity, ecology, capitalism, health, and justice in the Pacific, with a particular ethnographic focus on the Indonesian-occupied region of West Papua. She is author of In the Shadow of the Palms: More-Than-Human Becomings in West Papua (Duke University Press Scholars of Color First Book Award 2021) and co-editor of The Promise of Multispecies Justice. At the University of Sydney, Chao is co-lead of the Sydney Environment Institute’s Biocultural Diversities Research Theme and Executive Committee Member of the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre. She previously worked for the human rights organization Forest Peoples Programme in Indonesia, supporting the rights of forest-dwelling Indigenous peoples to their customary lands, resources, and livelihoods. For more information, please visit www.morethanhumanworlds.com.


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Ordinary Director
Ordinary Director

Dr Kari Dahlgren

Email: kari.dahlgren@monash.edu

Dr. Kari Dahlgren is an early career academic and Research Fellow in the Emerging Technologies Research Lab at Monash University. Kari is a social anthropologist who studies the social and ethical aspects of energy production and consumption in Australia. Her work is situated at the intersection of economic and environmental anthropology, with a particular interest in the anthropology of energy, climate change, and transition. She also works on several applied research projects and advocates for an anthropology which engages in and contributes to addressing contemporary socio-political and environmental challenges. She is concerned with the increasing precarity of Australian anthropology, and in particular, the challenges faced by early career researchers. She believes the AAS should work to expand the possibilities for the field as both critical and engaged, and that this is a key starting point for advocating for the membership’s diverse but mutual interests.  


Kari holds a PhD in Anthropology from the London School of Economics, an MSc from Oxford University, and BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

 

Other Office Bearers


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Public Officer
Public Officer

Dr Jaap Timmer

Jaap Timmer  

Jaap Timmer is an associate professor in the School of Social Sciences at Macquarie University. His research focuses on historicity, religion, and sovereignty in Solomon Islands and Indonesian Papua.   


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Editor, The Australian Journal of Anthropology (TAJA)
Editor, The Australian Journal of Anthropology (TAJA)

Dr Jaap Timmer

Email: jaap.timmer@mq.edu.au

Jaap Timmer  

Jaap Timmer is an Associate Professor in Anthropology at Macquarie University, Sydney. Jaap's key interests include culture change, the experience of time, and political theology. His regional interest is in the Southwest Pacific and Southeast Asia. Currently, Jaap focusses on historicity, Christianity, and lost tribes in Solomon Islands, and temporality, religion, and heritage among the Asmat in West Papua.

Dr Anna-Karina Hermkens

Email: anna.hermkens@mq.edu.au

  

Anna-Karina Hermkens is a senior lecturer and researcher at Macquarie University, Sydney. Since 2005, she has been doing research on the ideological underpinnings of violent conflicts in Solomon Islands, Bougainville, and North Moluccas (Indonesia) in terms of religion and gender. This has provided insight into the gendered nature of religious beliefs and symbols, the enigma of religious movements, and the interplay between religion, nationalism, violence, and gender. She has published widely in peer-reviewed journals, edited volumes, and museum catalogues and co-edited four volumes: “Moved by Mary. The Power of Pilgrimage in the Modern World” (Ashgate 2009); a special volume of the journal Oceania on “Gender and Personhood in Oceania” (2015);  a volume on Value and Material Culture titled “Sinuous Objects: Revaluing Women’s Wealth in the Pacific (ANU-Press 2017); and most recently a volume on the interplay between time and religion titled: "Christian Temporalities" (Palgrave-Springer 2024).


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Chairperson, Australian Network of Student Anthropologists (ANSA)
Chairperson, Australian Network of Student Anthropologists (ANSA)

Susannah Ostojic

Email: ansa.exec@gmail.com

Susannah Ostojic
Susannah Ostojic is a settler Australian of British and Serbian descent, living on Wurrundjeri-Woiwurrung land in Naarm (Melbourne). She is a PhD candidate at La Trobe University, and her research explores young women’s strategic and creative engagement with kastom practice and knowledge in central Maewo, Vanuatu.

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