Report from the Thematic Group Portfolio Leader

Peta S. Cook, University of Tasmania: 

As the new Thematic Group Portfolio Leader on the TASA Executive, I would first like to thank Karen Soldatic for her leadership as Thematic Group Portfolio Leader from 2015 to 2016. During her leadership, Karen provided excellent mentorship for thematic group conveners. This included producing an e-manual for conveners which, for the first time, collated information on issues related to the running of thematic groups and TASA funding. I know many conveners, including myself, have found this to be a valuable source of information. Thank you, Karen, for your contributions to TASA and the thematic groups.

I am delighted to be tackling my new role after my time as a thematic group convener for Teaching Sociology. As I step into this new role, there are also TASA members stepping into their new role as thematic group conveners for 2017 to 2019 (inclusive). Consequently, I take this opportunity to thank all the outgoing conveners and to welcome those who are new or returning to the role.

From July to December 2016, several thematic groups organised activities. These included:

  • Applied Sociology – webinar series (see report in Nexus, November 2016)
  • Urban Sociology – Relationality in the metropolis: Foundations for an Australian urban sociology (24–25 November 2016)
  • Health Sociology – Health sociology in the 21st century: Innovative approaches (2 December 2016)
  • Cultural Sociology – Meaning and morality in an age of uncertainty (2 December 2016)
  • Sociology of Emotions and Affect – Emotions: Past and present (5–6 December 2016)
  • Migration, Ethnicity, and Multiculturalism – From surviving to thriving: Research roundtable on inclusive work and economic security for refugees & asylum seekers (7 December 2016)

Reports from these events will appear in this and future issues of Nexus. The next round of funding for thematic group activities for July to December 2017 recently closed and applications are being assessed. Nine applications were received and this has made the assessment process very challenging. Funding outcomes will be announced as soon as possible. Applications for funding for events from January to June 2018 will close on 1 September 2017. I encourage thematic group members to contact their conveners with ideas and suggestions for group activities at any time, whether these may require funding or not.

Currently, there are 26 thematic groups: Ageing and Sociology; Applied Sociology; Crime and Governance; Critical Disability Studies; Cultural Sociology; Environment and Society; Families and Relationships; Genders and Sexualities; Health Sociology; Media; Migration, Ethnicity and Multiculturalism; Risk Societies; Rural Issues; Social Stratification; Social Theory; Sociology and Activism; Sociology of Economic Life; Sociology of Education; Sociology of Emotions and Affect; Sociology of Indigenous Issues; Sociology of Religion; Sociology of Youth; Sport; Teaching Sociology; Urban Sociology; and Work, Employment and Social Movements.

To be added to this list, and taking the number of thematic groups to 27, I am delighted to announce the formation of the Sociology and Animals thematic group, which has met the requirement of 15 members. This thematic group recognises ‘the importance of including non-human animals in our academic endeavours, and the urgency of studying animals as actors, as well as subjects of marginalisation in societies’. I welcome conveners Zoei Sutton (zoei.sutton@flinders.edu.au), Yamini Narayanan (y.narayanan@deakin.edu.au) and Nick Pendergrast (nicholas.pendergrast@unimelb.edu.au). If you have any questions about this thematic group, please contact one of the conveners.

When renewing your TASA membership, please remember that you can be a member of up to four groups. Membership of thematic groups is included in your TASA membership fee, so there is no additional cost. If you wish to add or change the thematic groups of which you are a member, or to check your group membership, log into your TASA account at the top of the TASA home page.

I am looking forward to hearing about the thematic group events in the year to come.

Peta S. Cook

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