About Me

Eben Kirksey has published two books with Duke University Press—Freedom in Entangled Worlds (2012) and Emergent Ecologies (2015)—as well as one edited collection: The Multispecies Salon (2014). UNSW Australia recruited Kirksey as a Strategy Hire in 2012 to help found their Environmental Humanities program in Sydney. Currently he is Princeton University's 2015-2016 Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron Visiting Professor, where he is researching and writing a new book.

Writing in collaboration with Stefan Helmreich in a special edition of Cultural Anthropology, he coined the phrase “multispecies ethnography” to characterize new approaches for studying contact zones where species meet. The root of the word ethnos means “a multitude (whether of men or of beasts) associated or living together; a company, troop, or swarm of individuals of the same nature or genus.” Ethnographers are now exploring how “the human” has been formed and transformed amid encounters with multiple species of plants, animals, fungi, and microbes.

EDUCATION
Ph.D. 2008 UC Santa Cruz
M.Phil. 2003 University of Oxford
B.A. 2000 New College of Florida

Friday, May 8, 2015

New Book: Emergent Ecologies


 


A praisesong for the possibilities of bricolage, Emergent Ecologies is a postmodern natural history in which displaced ants, macaques, frogs, and flies tumble with philosophy, performance art, science, and adventure story. Eben Kirksey takes us on a wild ride through a funhouse of risky and ironic entanglements.”

—ANNA LOWENHAUPT TSING, coeditor of Words in Motion: Toward a Global Lexicon


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Forthcoming: November 2015, Duke University Press.

In an era of global warming, natural disasters, endangered species, and devastating pollution, contemporary writing on the environment largely focuses on doomsday scenarios. Eben Kirksey suggests we reject such apocalyptic thinking and instead find possibilities in the wreckage of ongoing disasters, as symbiotic associations of opportunistic plants, animals, and microbes are flourishing in unexpected places. Emergent Ecologies uses artwork and contemporary philosophy to illustrate hopeful opportunities and reframe key problems in conservation biology such as invasive species, extinction, environmental management, and reforestation. Following the flight of capital and nomadic forms of life—through fragmented landscapes of Panama, Costa Rica, and the United States—Kirksey explores how chance encounters, historical accidents, and parasitic invasions have shaped present and future multispecies communities. New generations of thinkers and tinkerers are learning how to care for emergent ecological assemblages—involving frogs, fungal pathogens, ants, monkeys, people, and plants—by seeding them, nurturing them, protecting them, and ultimately letting go.

 Duke: Fall Catalog



Select Publications

Select Publications


KIRKSEY, S. E. (2015) "Species: A Praxiographic Study" Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 21, 758-780.


KIRKSEY, S. E. (2014) The Multispecies Salon, Duke University Press: Durham.


KIRKSEY, S. E. (2013) “Interspecies Love” in Lanjouw and Corbey (eds) The Politics of Species (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp. 164-77.


KIRKSEY, S. E., N. Shapiro, M. Brodine (2013) "Hope in Blasted Landscapes" Social Science Information, 52 (2): 228-256.


KIRKSEY, S. E. 2013 “A Messianic Multiple: West Papua, July 1998” in Bryan Turner (ed.) War and Peace: Essays on Religion and Violence (Anthem Press), pp. 37-59.


KIRKSEY, S. E. 2012 "Living with Parasites in Palo Verde National Park" Environmental Humanities, 1: 23-55.


KIRKSEY, S. E. 2012 "Thneeds Reseeds: Figures of Biocultural Hope in the Anthropocene" in G. Martin, D. Mincyte, and U. M√ľnster (eds.) Why Do We Value Diversity? Rachel Carson Perspectives vol 9: 89-94.


KIRKSEY, S. E. 2012 Freedom in Entangled Worlds, Duke University Press: Durham.


KIRKSEY, S. E. & S. HELMREICH. 2010 "The Emergence of Multispecies Ethnography", Cultural Anthropology, 25 (4): 545-576. Full Special Issue (48.8 MB)

In the News

In September 2010 Eben testified before the U.S. Congress about massacres in West Papua.


He joined Indonesian investigative reporter Andreas Harsono in 2008 to publish "Criminal Collaborations", a peer-reviewed article about Indonesian military involvement in the murder of two Americans. This research started a lively discussion in the Indonesian media and sparked a series of media articles in publications such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the International Herald Tribune. Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! invited Eben to discuss this research on her news show.