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Centre for Research on Social Inclusion

Working Group

JOHN SIMONS, Executive Dean of Arts

I am the Executive Dean of Arts at Macquarie University. I previously worked at the universities of Wales, Exeter, Winchester, Edge Hill and Lincoln in the UK. I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts,  the Zoological Society of London and the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. I have published very widely on topics ranging from Middle English chivalric romance to Andy Warhol and from codicology to the history of cricket. Among other things I have produced the first scholarly edition of Robert Parry's romance Moderatus (2002) and my Guy of Warwick and other Chapbook Romances (1998) represented the first application of modern editorial principles to eighteenth-century ephemeral literature. Since the late 1990s I have mainly concentrated on the issue of animals and my main publications in the field are Animal Rights and the Politics of Literary Representation (Palgrave 2002) and Rossetti's Wombat (Middlesex University Press, 2008). I currently have two monographs in production. One, Kangaroo, is a social history of kangaroos. The other, The Tiger that Swallowed the Boy, concerns the history of the exotic animal trade, zoos and circuses in Victorian England.


I am Professor of Social Inclusion in the Centre for Research on Social Inclusion, and a foundation member of Ecological Humanities ( I have been working in the field of relations between humans and animals since I began research with Australian Aboriginal people in 1980 and became fascinated by their system of multi-species kinship. My prize-winning ethnography Dingo Makes Us Human (Cambridge University Press)  is now in its third printing. My thinking has been directed toward endangered species and is seeking to explore more widely the point articulated succinctly by Indigenous people: 'they are not just flora and fauna, they're family'. I am working with Thom van Dooren on multi-species ethnographies, and am immersed in a research project on relationships between flying foxes (Pteropus spp) and humans. My new book, Wild Dog Dreaming: Love and Extinction, is being published by University of Virginia Press in their series 'Under the Sign of Nature: Explorations in Ecocriticism', and will be available next year.


I am a lecturer in the Department of Environment and Geography at Macquarie University. My research interests focus broadly on environmental justice and environmental change.  I am particularly interested in the political ecologies bound up in disregarded and polluted landscapes and the ways in which people and animals inhabit and transform such places.  I am also currently working on a collaborative research project that explores multi-species participation in Australian urban and environmental planning processes.


I am a lecturer in the Philosophy Department at Macquarie University. A small black dog and a cat oversee my work, which includes thinking about the theoretical problems of a moral separation between humans and non-humans, and the varieties of friendship that exist between and across specie.

MATT CHRULEW, Postdoctoral Fellow

I am a postdoctoral research fellow in the Centre for Research on Social Inclusion, and a member of the Ecological Humanities group and the Australian Animal Studies Group. I began research on human-animal relations in 2001 with my MA on zoological gardens, and have since published a number of essays at the intersection of critical theory and animal studies. I am currently writing the volume Mammoth for Reaktion Books, and editing (with Dinesh Wadiwel) the collection Foucault and Animals. I have also published a number of speculative fiction short stories. Other research interests include the "Pleistocene Rewilding" conservation model, contempary Continental philosophy of religion, and the history and philosophy of ethology. I will be hosting an ISL-HCA-funded International Collaborative Workshop on the latter theme in February 2011.

JANE JOHNSON, Postdoctoral Fellow

I am a postdoctoral research fellow in clinical and public health ethics in the Department of Philosophy at Macquarie University with a long standing interest in animals as fellow creatures. I have worked on the ethical and epistemological implications of the use of animals in biomedicine, and my current research involves developing a new animal-as-patient model, intended to draw attention to the similarities between human and nonhuman animals, and to improve the situation of animals in experimentation.

THOM VAN DOOREN, Adjunct Fellow

I am currently a Chancellor's Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and an Adjunct Fellow in the Centre for Research on Social Inclusion, Macquarie University. My research interests lie in human relationships with plants, animals and nature more broadly. In particular, I am concerned with the entanglement of these relationships with issues of environmental justice, inside processes of globalisation, climate change and accelerating rates of species extinction. My major current research project focuses on people's relationships with bird species (or populations) that are positioned perilously on the edge of extinction - exploring the causes and consequences of extinction, as well as diverse efforts to conserve disappearing others.

ROD BENNISON, Visiting Fellow

I have a long-standing history within the environmental and animal protection and advocacy movements, being a former Australian Conservation Foundation Councillor, Save Animals from Exploitation (Australia) President and National Parks Association Hunter President, amongst other activities. Over the years, I have also been a member and active within several social movement organisations, particularly in the area of drug law reform, prison reform and HIV/AIDS activism.  I was the National Policy Coordinator for the Australian Democrats for over twelve years. I am currently a Conjoint Fellow at the University of Newcastle, an environmental consultant, and hold a position on the Worimi Conservation Lands Board of Management. My main interests in animals lie with the commercial exploitation of wildlife, representations of animals as insignificant others, animals in religion, and the divide between animal protection and environmentalism.

HOLLIS TAYLOR, Departmental Visitor

I am a 2010/11 Research Fellow at the Laboratoire d'Eco-anthropologie & Ethnobiologie of the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris, where I am both analysing the nocturnal long songs of the pied butcherbird and performing concerts based on them. I am also developing the website, which profiles the key issues in zoömusicology and interdisciplinary researchers who study animal aesthetics. This area of interest is also reflected in my lecture 'The Music of Nature and the Nature of Music', which I have delivered at museums, universities, concert halls, and conferences in Europe and Australia. I will be a 2011/12 Fellow at Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin Institute for Advanced Study. As a violinist/composer, all my work now celebrates the vocalisations of the Australian pied butcherbird, which I record in the field up to four months each year. Web:


I am in the second year of my PhD candidacy with the Centre for Research on Social inclusion and a member of the Ecological Humanities group. My background in Palaeoanthropology led me to become interested in the close relationship between humans and large carnivores over our shared evolutionary histories and the lasting impression that these animals have left on the human psyche. This, in turn, led me to an investigation of the relationship between people and urbanised hyenas (Crocuta crocuta) in the town of Harar, Ethiopia. The research is aimed at understanding the mechanisms that enable peaceful coexistence between two species who are traditionally enemies.


I began my PhD candidacy this year with with Centre for Research on Social Inclusion. My project focuses on Human-Canine Relations and explores concepts of empathy, recognition and reciprocity. I have a particular interest in the everyday lived experiences shared between humans and their canine companions. The research aims to gain a deeper and more profound understanding  of the nature of devotion and engagement between the species, and to further explore the liminal spaces inhabited by dogs in contemporary Western society.


I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Media, Music and Cultural Studies. My thesis is an exploration of experiences of Nativism and belonging in the New England tableland region of New South Wales. I am interested in relations of inter-species kinship that enrich these experiences and how these relations are shaped by eco-nationalist ideologies. At the moment I am researching the moral divide between native and introduced animals in rural Australia and the way animal agency can challenge and subvert hierarchical orderings of nature.

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