About Me

Eben Kirksey is an American anthropologist who specializes on science and justice. Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study is hosting Kirksey in the 2019-2020 academic year, where he is conducting research on gene editing, the innovation economy, and social inequality.

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

Currently he is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. Princeton University hosted Dr. Kirksey as the 2015-2016 Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron Visiting Professor and he previously served as Program Head (Convener) of Environmental Humanities at UNSW Sydney.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Indonesia's Police and Military at Open War

Timika, a city in West Papua, has become a site where an open war over money, involving the Indonesian military (TNI) and the police (POLRI), is taking place. In 2008 the U.S. mining giant Freeport McMoRan paid $8 million in support costs to security forces, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Last year $1.6 million of this money went to "allowances" for TNI and POLRI officers despite a 2007 Ministerial decree handing over all security for "vital national projects" (provit) to POLRI.

TNI had financial incentive to stage the attack last weekend that left Drew Grant, an Australian national, dead. A disturbance would show that POLRI was doing a poor job at providing security for this national project. At the same time POLRI is now in a situation, much like they were with the 2002 attacks that killed three teachers in Timika, where it is in their best interest to pursue evidence of TNI involvement in the ambush. The battle between TNI and POLRI in Timika is a microcosm for a war between these two institutions on a national level. Very lucrative security contracts at other vital national projects, like BP's Tangguh project in Bintuni Bay, are at stake.

The jury is still out about who conducted the attacks over the weekend. Allegations and denials are flying from all possible corners. If investigators identify marksmen, my first questions will be: Where did they get their guns? and Who trained them?

For more details of the $1.8 million "monthly allowance" see: Aubrey Belford (2009) "US Mining Giant Still Paying Indonesian Military", AFP, 23 March.

For details on Freeport's $8 million in broader "support costs" for some 1,850 Indonesian police and soldiers see: "DJ US Giant Freeport McMoran Still Paying Indonesia Military", Dow Jones Commodities News select via Comtex, 22 March 2009.

Select Publications

Select Publications

SHAPIRO, N & E. Kirksey (2017) "Chemo-ethnography: An Introduction" Cultural Anthropology 32(4): 481-493.

KIRKSEY, S. E. (2017) "Lively Multispecies Communities, Deadly Racial Assemblages, and the Promise of Justice" South Atlantic Quarterly 116(1): 195-206.

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.

Testimony at Congressional hearing: Crimes Against Humanity from Eben Kirksey on Vimeo.

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.