Eben Kirksey Receives ARC Grant to Explore “The Promise of Justice”

Eben Kirksey, American anthropologist and current Member in the School of Social Science, will embark on a three-year research project titled “The Promise of Justice,” with funding announced today by the Australian Research Council.

Kirksey will work alongside fellow Chief Investigator Sophie Chao, of the University of Sydney, and Partner Investigator Benny Giay, who serves as head of the KINGMI Church, Peace and Justice Division in West Papua.

“This new project is exploring the promise of justice in the fields of health, the environment, and human rights, where who gets to count as human before the law is never guaranteed,” Kirksey commented.

Focused on the province of West Papua in Indonesia—a region plagued by conflict—the research team will seek to reconceptualize the notions of justice and understand how factors such as race, politics, modernization, and economics shape inequality and access to resources within indigenous communities.

The project is also an opportunity to generate new knowledge in cultural theory and multispecies ethnography—an area of research pioneered by Kirksey. “Justice is often framed as a human problem. How other species shape just or unjust futures is rarely considered,” added Kirksey.

Kirksey is currently finishing a book for St. Martin’s Press on a separate topic: gene editing, the innovation economy, and social inequality. He joined the IAS in the Fall of 2019 as a Friends of the Institute for Advanced Study Member. He is also Associate Professor of Anthropology at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia.

Read more from the Australian Research Council.


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