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A/Prof. Eben Kirksey



Associate Professor


Faculty of Arts and Education


Alfred Deakin Institute


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus


Eben Kirksey is an American anthropologist who specializes on science and justice. The Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, hosted Kirksey for the 2019-2020 academic year, where he finished his latest book: The Mutant Project.

Personal website:

St. Martin's Press, St. Martin's Publishing Group, On Sale: 11/10/2020.

"A riveting jaunt to the cliff-edge of the future, where scientists, engineers, patients and biohackers struggle over the power, function and meaning of human gene editing...Empathetic, provocative and probing, it is a must read."

--Alondra Nelson, author of The Social Life of DNA

Read more on Eben's profile

Biography summary

Eben Kirksey attended the University of Oxford as a British Marshall Scholar and earned his Ph.D. from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Duke University Press has published his first two books—Freedom in Entangled Worlds (2012) and Emergent Ecologies (2015)—as well as one edited collection: The Multispecies Salon (2014).

See Google Scholar for his latest academic publications. 

When controversy broke about the world’s first genetically modified babies, Prof. Kirksey spoke about ethics from the main stage of the International Summit on Human Genome Editing in Hong Kong. Over 1.8 million people watched news unfold from the Summit in real time, as Dr. Jiankui He revealed the details of his CRISPR experiment. After the dust settled, Eben Kirksey traveled to mainland China where he secured insider access to Dr. He’s laboratory. The Mutant Project chronicles the profit-driven medical enterprises continue to push CRISPR into reproductive clinics.

In academic circles, Prof. Kirksey is perhaps best known for his work in multispecies ethnography—a field that situates contemporary scholarship on animals, microbes, plants, and fungi within deeply rooted traditions of environmental anthropology, continental philosophy, and the sociology of science. “The Emergence of Multispecies Ethnography,” an article co-authored with Stefan Helmreich, has served as a charter for anthropologists and intellectual allies who study other species whose lives and deaths are linked to human social worlds. Recently, Kirksey has introduced new approaches to chemo-ethnography in collaboration with Nicholas Shapiro. 

Within the art world Kirksey has become an established curator. A 2012 cover story of Art Review celebrated his first New York City exhibit: The Multispecies Salon which brought together environmental artists with hackers who are remaking life itself. At Roskilde, the annual European music festival featuring 180 bands and over 130,000 festival-goers, Kirksey collaborated with performance artists to animate insights from his last book, Emergent Ecologies, with a site-specific installation. Princeton University hosted an art exhibit to launch the book, and a Brooklyn warehouse hosted a continuation of the show with over 90 artists his ideas.

Kirksey has delivered scores of invited lectures and keynote presentations at distinguished international institutions including Oxford University, Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle (Paris), Oxford University, Yale University, the New York Academy of Sciences, and Stanford University.

After witnessing human rights abuses, and writing about them in Freedom in Engangled Worlds, Eben Kirksey became dedicated to social justice. In September 2010 he testified in a Congressional Hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives about massacres in West Papua.

Media appearances

Eben Kirksey is an expert on science and justice.

Journalists from the Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Democracy Now, and the BBC, among many other media outlets, have sought him out as an expert.


"The Promise of Justice," ARC Discovery Project with Sophie Chao (Sydney), Anna Tsing (UC Santa Cruz), and Benny Giay (KINGMI), 2020-2023. 


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Impure hopes: CRISPR and an HIV cure

E Kirksey

(2022), Vol. 28, pp. 29-53, GLQ: a journal of lesbian and gay studies, Durham, N.C., C1

journal article

The Mutant Project: Inside the Global Race to Genetically Modify Humans

Scott Kirksey

(2021), Bristol, Eng., A1


The Xenopus pregnancy test

Eben Kirksey, Dehlia Hannah, Charlie Lotterman, Lisa Moore

(2021), pp. 163-178, Routledge Handbook of Art, Science, and Technology Studies, London, Eng., B1

book chapter

Living machines go wild policing the imaginative horizons of synthetic biology

E Kirksey

(2021), Vol. 62, pp. 1-11, Current Anthropology, Chicago, Ill., C1

journal article

Genealogy, Virality, and Potentiality: Moving Beyond Orientalism with COVID-19

E Kirksey

(2021), Vol. 18, pp. 383-387, Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, Netherlands, C1

journal article

Chemosociality in multispecies worlds endangered frogs and toxic possibilities in Sydney

E Kirksey

(2020), Vol. 12, pp. 23-50, Environmental Humanities, Durham, N.C., C1

journal article

Queer Love, Gender Bending Bacteria, and Life after the Anthropocene

E Kirksey

(2019), Vol. 36, pp. 197-219, Theory, Culture and Society, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Feeding the flock: Wild cockatoos and their Facebook friends

E Kirksey, P Munro, T van Dooren, D Emery, A Maree Kreller, J Kwok, K Lau, M Miller, K Morris, S Newson, E Olejniczak, A Ow, K Tuckson, S Sannen, J Martin

(2018), Vol. 1, pp. 602-620, Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, C1

journal article

Utopia for the golden frog of Panama

Scott Kirksey

(2017), pp. 307-334, Cryopolitics: frozen life in a melting world, Cambridge, Mass., B1

book chapter

Chemo-Ethnography: An Introduction

Nicholas Shapiro, Eben Kirksey

(2017), Vol. 32, pp. 481-493, Cultural Anthropology, Arlington, VA, C1

journal article

Chemoethnography: an introduction

Nicholas Shapiro, Scott Kirksey

(2017), Vol. 32, pp. 481-493, Cultural anthropology, Arlington, Va., C1-1

journal article

Lively multispecies communities, deadly racial assemblages, and the promise of justice

E Kirksey

(2017), Vol. 116, pp. 195-206, South Atlantic Quarterly, C1

journal article

Multispecies families, capitalism and the law

Eben Kirksey

(2016), pp. 155-174, Animals, biopolitics, law : lively legalities, London, Eng., B1

book chapter

Multispecies Studies Cultivating Arts of Attentiveness

Thom van Dooren, Eben Kirksey, Ursula Muenster

(2016), Vol. 8, pp. 1-23, ENVIRONMENTAL HUMANITIES, C1-1

journal article

Emergent Ecologies

Eben Kirksey

(2015), Durham, N.C., A1


Species: a praxiographic study

E Kirksey

(2015), Vol. 21, pp. 758-780, Journal of the royal anthropological institute, Chichester, Eng., C1

journal article

Multispecies intra-actions

Scott Kirksey

(2015), Vol. 32, pp. 5-7, Antennae: the journal of nature in visual culture, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Tactics of multispecies ethnography

Scott Kirksey, Craig Schuetze, Stefan Helmreich

(2014), pp. 1-24, The multispecies salon, Durham, N.C., B1

book chapter

Multispecies Communities

Scott Kirksey

(2014), pp. 111-111, The Multispecies Salon, Durham, N.C., B1

book chapter


Eben Kirksey

(2014), Vol. 5, pp. 295-300, Environmental Humanities, Durum, N.C., C1-1

journal article

The Multispecies Salon

Eben Kirksey

(2014), Durham, N.C., A7-1

edited book

Hope in blasted landscapes

S Kirksey, N Shapiro, M Brodine

(2013), Vol. 52, pp. 228-256, Social Science Information, C1-1

journal article

Freedom in Entangled Worlds : West Papua and the Architecture of Global Power

Eben Kirksey, Eben Kirksey

(2012), Duram, N.C., A1-1


Interspecies love: Being and becoming with a common ant, Ectatomma ruidum (Roger)

E Kirksey

(2012), pp. 164-176, The Politics of Species: Reshaping our Relationships with Other Animals, B1-1

book chapter

Living with Parasites in Palo Verde National Park

Eben Kirksey

(2012), Vol. 1, pp. 23-55, Environmental Humanities, Durham, N.C., C1-1

journal article

A messianic multiple: West Papua, July 1998

E Kirksey

(2011), pp. 37-62, War and Peace: Essays on Religion and Violence, B1-1

book chapter

The emergence of multispecies ethnography

S Kirksey, S Helmreich

(2010), Vol. 25, pp. 545-576, Cultural Anthropology, C1-1

journal article

Criminal collaborations? Antonius Wamang and the Indonesian military in Timika

S Kirksey, A Harsono

(2008), Vol. 16, pp. 165-197, South East Asia Research, C1-1

journal article

Rewards for Justice

Scott Kirksey

(2004), pp. 132-134, Shock and Awe: War on Words, Santa Cruz, Calif., B1-1

book chapter

A Road to Freedom: Mee Articulations and the Trans-Papua Highway

Scott Kirksey, K Van Bilsen

(2002), Vol. 158, pp. 837-854, Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, 's-Gravenhage, The Netherlands, C1-1

journal article

The Wild Terrorist Gang: The semantics of violence and self-determination in West Papua

S Kirksey, J Roemajauw

(2002), Vol. 30, pp. 189-203, Oxford Development Studies, C1-1

journal article

Funded Projects at Deakin

Australian Competitive Grants

The Promise of Justice

A/Prof Eben Kirksey, Dr Sophie Chao, Dr Benny Giay

ARC - Discovery Projects

  • 2022: $69,918
  • 2021: $43,040
  • 2020: $57,053

Coexisting with Coronaviruses: Rethinking the Emergence of the Pandemic

A/Prof Eben Kirksey

ARC Fellowships - Future Fellowships

  • 2023: $78,204
  • 2022: $135,559

Industry and Other Funding

CRISPR: A Hope Technology

A/Prof Eben Kirksey

Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

  • 2020: $37,718
  • 2019: $37,358


No completed student supervisions to report