Profile image of Eben Kirksey

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, is hosting Kirksey in the 2019-2020 academic year, where he is conducting research on gene editing, the innovation economy, and social inequality.

Read more on Eben's profile

Biography summary

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

Duke University Press has published his two books—Freedom in Entangled Worlds (2012) and Emergent Ecologies (2015)—as well as one edited collection: The Multispecies Salon (2014). Google Scholar has listed most of his academic publications. Currently he is finishing a new book for St. Martins Press about the scientists, lobbyists, entrepreneurs, and activists remaking the human race with the gene editing tool called CRISPR.

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.

Kirksey graduated with an honors degree from New College of Florida, where he studied cultural anthropology and biology. Ever since, he has been working to integrate insights from the two fields. After studying History of Medicine at the University of Oxford, with a British Marshall Scholarship, he went on to complete his PhD under James Clifford and Donna Haraway at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Eben Kirksey first went to West Papua, the Indonesian-controlled half of New Guinea, as an exchange student in 1998. These early experiences laid the ground work for his first book: Freedom in Engangled Worlds, which blends ethnographic research with indigenous parables to illustrate visions of dramatic transformations on coming horizons. In September 2010 Eben testified in a Congressional Hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives about massacres in West Papua.

Media appearances

Close to two million people watched Eben Kirksey question Dr. Jiankui He about the ethics of CRISPR embryo editing as the proceedings of Human Genome Editing Summit streamed live from Hong Kong. Reporters from The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Democracy Now, Time Magazine, The Guardian, the BBC, ABC radio Australia, and the International Herald Tribune, among many other media outlets, have interviewed him about his work.


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The Mutant Project: How the US and China are Racing to Create Genetically Modified Humans

Scott Kirksey

(2020), New York, A1


Chemo-Ethnography: An Introduction

Nicholas Shapiro, Eben Kirksey

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


Multispecies families, capitalism and the law

Eben Kirksey

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


Species: a praxiographic study

E Kirksey

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


Multispecies intra-actions

Scott Kirksey

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


Tactics of multispecies ethnography

Scott Kirksey, Craig Schuetze, Stefan Helmreich

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


Multispecies Communities

Scott Kirksey

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


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


Funded Projects at Deakin

Australian Competitive Grants

The Promise of Justice

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

ARC - Discovery Projects

  • 2020: $11,410

Industry and Other Funding

CRISPR: A Hope Technology

A/Prof Eben Kirksey

  • 2020: $37,718
  • 2019: $37,358


No completed student supervisions to report