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2020 AAS Post-Doctoral Fellowship

 | Published on 6/11/2020

The AAS Executive Committee is delighted to announce that the 2020 AAS Postdoctoral Fellowship has been awarded to Dr Muhammad Kavesh (PhD 2018, Australian National University).

Muhammad Kavesh is a Sessional Lecturer in Anthropology at the Australian National University. The AAS Postdoctoral Fellowship will help Kavesh to finalize his book manuscript and develop a special journal issue with the ongoing support of his teachers, colleagues, and friends at the Australian National University. 

Kavesh's upcoming book, Animal Enthusiasms: Life beyond Cage and Leash in Rural Pakistan, explores the entanglement of care and violence existing in human-animal relationships in Pakistan. It examines the passions and desires of Pakistani men as they engage with non-human actors to produce masculinity, accumulate social capital, and construct pleasure, illustrating how more-than-human relationships inform concepts of the self. The book will be published as part of Rebecca Cassidy and Garry Marvin’s Routledge book series “Multi-Species Anthropology: New Ethnographies”. The AAS judging committee said, "this book manuscript promises to make a unique contribution to multispecies ethnography, even as it breaks free of the state security and religious studies paradigms that have dominated the scholarship of Pakistan".

With Dr Natasha Fijn, Kavesh is also guest editing a special issue for The Australian Journal of Anthropology on sense-making in a more-than-human world. We are delighted to be able to help support these important publishing projects.

Congratulations and happy writing Kavesh!

In late 2020, Kavesh will be starting a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Anthropology at the University of Toronto and embarking on a new project that examines the ethics of air-surveillance through “spy pigeons” on the Indian-Pakistani border, and the moral, ethical, and political debates this generates in contemporary South Asia. You can read more about Kavesh’s work in an interview with Dr Sophie Chao on

For a wider conceptual framing of Kavesh’s work, please see his co-authored paper with Prof Kirin Narayan on the cultural category of “enthusiasm” in South Asia.

Special Commendations

Due to the large number of very impressive applicants, the judging committee for the 2020 Postdoctoral Fellowship found this years’ decision making process particularly agonising. For this reason, the panel has decided to publicly recognise two highly ranked proposals, and to honour the applicants with a Special Commendation, with regrets that we cannot provide fellowships to them both—and, indeed, to all of the applicants.

Dr Aaron J. Jackson (PhD 2019, University of Melbourne) is converting his PhD dissertation about disability into a book manuscript that is already under contract with University of California Press. Readers of his dissertation describe his work as simultaneously deeply scholarly, richly ethnographic, skilfully written and theoretically grounded. His forthcoming book promises to be read widely and shape disability policy discussions. The AAS Executive Committee very much look forward to seeing this book in print, and recognise Dr Jackson’s accomplishments with an AAS Postdoctoral Special Commendation.

Dr Sarah Quillinan (PhD 2019, University of Melbourne) aims to turn her dissertation on sexual violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina into two books, and we were impressed with her articulation of a theoretical approach to the juxtaposition of silence, secrecy, defacement, and voice in survivors of sexual violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Readers of her thesis note that it makes a distinctive contribution to the fields of memories studies, trauma studies, sexual violence studies, as well as to general anthropological theory and methodology. The AAS Executive Committee wish Dr Quillinan all the best with these ongoing and future publishing projects, and we recognise Dr Quillinan’s promise with an AAS Postdoctoral Special Commendation.