Dr Cyril Timo Schäfer Memorial Graduate Student

Conference Presentation Awards

Dr Cyril Timo Schäfer

Dr Cyril Timo Schäfer

The Dr Cyril Timo Schäfer Memorial Graduate Student Conference Presentation Awards take place at the Association's annual conference. The purpose of the awards is to recognise excellence in conference presentation skills by ASAA/NZ graduate student members. Prizes are as follows:

1st place = $100
2nd place = $75
3rd place = $50

If you are a student presenting at the conference and would like to be considered for the award, please ensure you are a current ASAA/NZ member.


  1. The awards are offered annually to graduate student members of ASAA/NZ who are presenting work at an ASAA/NZ Conference.
  2. Students will be considered for the awards if they are currently enrolled in a graduate degree in Cultural or Social Anthropology at a New Zealand University, or have graduated from such a programme in the 12 months prior to the conference.
  3. The awards are given for the most outstanding conference presentations (not written papers) and are based on the quality of both content and presentation.
  4. First, second, and third place prizes will be awarded.
  5. The three winning abstracts will be archived on the ASAA/NZ website.


  1. The awards will be judged by a panel of ASAA/NZ Committee members during the annual ASAA/NZ Conferences.
  2. First, second, and third place winners will be announced at the end of each conference.

2015 winners

The inaugural awards was made at the 2015 ASAA/NZ conference. Jeff Sluka (Massey University), Julie Park (University of Auckland), Trisia Farrelly (Massey University), and Catherine Trundle (Victoria University of Wellington) were on the awards panel and judged eighteen student papers. The winning abstracts are below.

First place: Jessica Halley, Massey University

The politics of resettlement: Bhutanese refugees and the problem with ‘community’

New Zealand’s refugee resettlement strategy is focused on fostering a sense of independence and community among refugee groups. Yet for Bhutanese youth, resettlement in Palmerston North has provided fresh cultural texts which shape imagined identities. These imagined identities often conflict with wider Bhutanese community values. Here discourses of a ‘collective Bhutanese community’, promoted within New Zealand’s resettlement process, complicate the experience of growing up in a new country. For the anthropologist at home, exploring the paradoxical nature of ‘community’ (Young 1968) reveals how resistance and conformity are not always opposing actions; rather they can occur simultaneously through everyday behavior.

The photos below were taken by Jessica's research participants in July 2013 as part of a visual ethnographic project they were working on together. You can read more about Jessica's research on New Zealand anthropology blog www.anthsisters.com.

Second place: Sally Raudon, University of Auckland

Hurry up please, it’s time: conflicting temporalities of Australian constitutional reform

This paper analyses how republicans and monarchists rely on unexamined chronologies in debates about Australian constitutional reform, and who should be the Australian head of state. The Australia Republican Movement’s slogans – “It’s time!” –often imply that a deadline has arrived, and a new constitutional era awaits. This assumes a teleological narrative in which a colonial state’s constitutional order progresses through a series of typical forms of sovereignty, culminating in the apotheosis of the republic. Conversely, many monarchists regard the inheritance of centuries of well-tested monarchical stability as a priceless cultural treasure. However, they assume monarchy is timeless and perpetual when in fact it is, like republicanism, substantially a modern invention.

Both monarchist and republican positions represent diverging examples of temporality, the perception and social organisation of time. I argue that both the republican paradigm of progressive constitutional development, and monarchists’ historicization, disguise deeply emotive positions about how power should operate within Australia. Rendering clearly the distance between republican and monarchist assumptions about time reveals some of the hidden cultural logic operating in this vigorous debate about Australia’s constitutional order.

Third place: Jess Bignell, Massey University

Studying up: The practical parts of doing ethnography with powerful people

In this talk, I will dicuss some of the practical challenges of undertaking ethnographic fieildwork in an ‘upwards’ study. I spent 2013 undertaking fieldwork with four MPs in Aotearoa New Zealand’s Parliament, aiming to understand generational change in the Green Party. I will discuss the challenges I faced, like security, well-practiced narratives, and a lack of koru club membership with a view to considering to what extent it’s possible to underkate completely immersive ethnography while studying up.