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Invitation to vote in the 2021 AAS Election

 | Published on 10/4/2021

This year four positions on the AAS Executive Committee were open for nomination: President Elect, Secretary, Treasurer and Ordinary Director.

The call for nominations was open between 3 September and 1 October, during which time we received two nominations each for the positions of Secretary and Ordinary Director.

The election for these positions is now open, with voting due to close on Monday, 1 November 2021.

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Nominees for Ordinary Director

The nominees for the position of Ordinary Director (listed in alphabetical order) are:

Kristin (Kris) McBain-Rigg

Dr Kristin (Kris) McBain-Rigg is a medical anthropologist who has lived and worked in regional Australia and has a passion for improving the health of rural, remote and Indigenous Australian populations. Kris worked as a research officer at the Mount Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health (MICRRH) on several major projects including The Rural and Remote Road Safety study (2005-2006), development of an online Cultural Awareness training package for General Practitioners (GPET Cultural Awareness Package) (2006), and the Lifescripts adaptation for use with Indigenous clients (2007). Kris also completed her PhD in Mount Isa, Queensland; a critical medical anthropological enquiry of the health care choices and health care access barriers facing local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of the community. This was followed by postdoctoral studies examining the ways that JCU Medical Students understand and integrate principles of social accountability into their learning and practice. Kris's recent work has included research on the use of Quad Bikes in occupational settings in North West Queensland, the current state of primary industries OHS research, and the barriers and facilitators facing farmers in the uptake of OHS solutions on their enterprises for the World Safety Organisation Collaborating Centre for Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion. She has held leadership positions including Associate Dean of Learning and Teaching (College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences at JCU), and Chair of Public Health and Tropical Medicine Learning and Teaching Committee.

Malini Sur

Dr. Malini Sur is a sociocultural anthropologist with research interests in India, Bangladesh and more recently Australia. She studies agrarian borderlands, cities and the environment. She is a Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at Western Sydney University. Malini is the author of Jungle Passports: Fences, Mobility, and Citizenship at the Northeast India-Bangladesh Border (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021). She has also published on borderlands in Cultural Anthropology, Comparative Studies in Society and History and Modern Asian Studies. Her second project is concerned with the political terrains that degraded air generates in India. Drawing on insights from three years of ethnographic fieldwork in the city of Kolkata, she explores how daily-wage bicyclists and environmental activists in large postcolonial cities experience, navigate and mobilize air in everyday life and the economies, including repair economies that coalesce around urban cycling. She has co-edited two Special Issues in CITY and Economic and Political Weekly on urban anthropology.

Malini's interests in the environment, and especially in climatic events, air pollution and dust, and urban mobility now includes new research on Australia. She has published collaborative research on construction sites, on ground-breaking and the redistribution of earth's particles and on dust and bushfire haze. She has also written about slow cycling and urban mobility in Australia and commented widely in the media including the ABC on the global impacts of dust and pollution. Her first documentary film Life Cycle, about air pollution and urban cycling in India has been screened at Baltimore, Perth, Sydney, Canberra, Santiago, Singapore, Kolkata and New York. She holds a PhD from the University of Amsterdam and has held fellowships at the University of Toronto and National University of Singapore.

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Nominees for Secretary

The nominees for the position of Secretary (listed in alphabetical order) are:

Sophie Chao

Dr Sophie Chao is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Sydney's School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry and the Charles Perkins Centre, and an Honorary Postdoctoral Fellow at Macquarie University. Her research explores the intersections of capitalism, ecology, health, and indigeneity in Indonesian West Papua. Sophie's broader research interests include multispecies ethnography, phenomenology, the environmental humanities, Science and Technology Studies, food and diet, and the senses. Sophie holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in Oriental Studies (Chinese and Tibetan) and a Master of Science in Social Anthropology from The University of Oxford. She completed a PhD in Anthropology at Macquarie University in 2019. Her thesis was awarded a Vice-Chancellor's Commendation and the AAS PhD Thesis prize in 2019. Prior to her doctoral research, Sophie worked for indigenous rights organization Forest Peoples Programme and has published extensively on human rights and the palm oil sector in Southeast Asia. She has also undertaken consultancies for United Nations human rights bodies including the Food and Agriculture Organization and the Working Group on Business and Human Rights. For more information about Sophie's research, please visit

Benjamin Hegarty

Dr Benjamin Hegarty is a McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne, and a visiting research fellow at the Center for HIV AIDS Research at Atma Jaya University in Indonesia. His teaching and research, which takes place theoretically in queer anthropology and geographically in Indonesia, is collaborative, ethnographically attentive and ethically engaged. His first book, 'The Made-Up State' (under contract, Cornell University Press), addresses transgender women's lives against shifting meanings of public life in the Indonesian city. His current project, a collaborative ethnography co-researched and written with Indonesian epidemiologists and community activists, addresses the social life of HIV data worlds. His research appears or is forthcoming in journals such as Medicine Anthropology Theory, the Journal of Asian Studies, Ethos, Global Public Health, Transgender Studies Quarterly and the Journal of the History of Sexuality. He holds a Master of Asian Studies from Monash University and PhD in Anthropology from the Australian National University, which was awarded the 2018 AAS PhD Thesis Prize. In 2018-19 he was visiting assistant researcher in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California Irvine and, in 2021, was awarded an Evans Fellowship at the Department of Social Anthropology at Cambridge University. For more information about Benjamin's research, see:

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