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Emergent Ecologies
Emergent Ecologies Art Exhibit

NYC Emergence: Kilroy Metal Ceiling, April 30th -June 18th 2016
283 Greene Ave, Brooklyn, 11238
Opening: Sat, April 30th, 6 pm till very late
Featuring over 70 wild artists
RSVP on Facebook

Emergent ecologies are being fastened into place with new rivets and cyborg articulations. Amidst collapsing systems, unruly assemblages are flourishing and proliferating in unexpected places. Microbes that become emergent diseases—by finding novel exploits, pathways of transmission, or modes of existence—can quickly transform dominant political strategies, economic systems, or agricultural practices.  Emergences can also figure into collective hopes.  When a forest is clear-cut by loggers or destroyed by a volcanic eruption, emergent plants are the first to sprout.

Past Events


Hope in an Era of Extinction
Talk Cary Wolfe (Rice University)
Panel Discussion Kevin Esvelt (MIT), Beth Shapiro (UC Santa Cruz), James Hatley (Salisbury), Genese Sodikoff (Rutgers), Ashley Dawson (City University of New York), Maria Whiteman (Rice), Rafi Youatt (New School), David Wilcove (Princeton), and Graham Burnett (Princeton).
Where Princeton University, Studio 34 Café, Butler College
When Monday, February 29, 2016, 4:30-6pm
Broadcast live: Google+  Archived on: YouTube

We live in a time of extinction.  As some charismatic creatures are being saved in zoos, captive breeding facilities, and cryogenic banks, a multitude of others are disappearing as they are disregarded or actively targeted for destruction. Who should we love in a time of extinction? What practices of care can keep those who we love in the world? Can ongoing ecological catastrophes be stemmed – or reversed – with technological or scientific interventions? If it is technically possible, should woolly mammoths and passenger pigeons be reanimated? Should unloved animals, like ticks and mosquitoes, be edited out of ecosystems?

A short talk by Cary Wolfe (Rice): “Curating Life & Death: The Case of the Passenger Pigeon” followed by a panel discussion.

Porgera Mine

Chemical Species II: Alchemy, Gold, and Water
When February 26th , 2016, 12:302:00pm
Where Princeton University, 
Guyot Hall 100, 12:30-2:00pm
Featuring Sarah Knuckey, Joshua Fisher, and Jerry Jacka.  Discussant Nick Shapiro.
Broadcast Live Google+ Archived on  YouTube

The “chemical turn” in ethnography and the environmental humanities has led some to blend physical science and human rights methods to understand how pollution moves through ecosystems and human communities.  Focusing on the Barrick Gold mine in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, this event will explore what Jerry Jacka calls “alchemy”—to consider “the implications of turning indigenous lands into gold, which affects the material, social and cultural landscape.”  We will also discuss the interdisciplinary research of Sarah Knuckey and Joshua Fisher, who have used chemistry and human rights methods to explore indigenous concerns.  Have mine operations polluted rivers and streams, contaminated rainwater, caused erosion and landslides, and contributed to poor air quality and low crop yield?

Reading: Jacka, Jerry. 2015. Alchemy in the Rain Forest (Durham: Duke University Press), pages 1-23.

Further background: Columbia Law School. 2015. “Righting Wrongs?  Barrick Gold’s Remedy Mechanism for Sexual Violence in Papua New Guinea,” 133 pages.  Electronically published report:


Chemical Species: From the Surreal to the Sublime
Who Nicholas Shapiro (Chemical Heritage Foundation) with special guests: Alison Kenner (Drexel University), Jennie Shanker (artist), Ian Bourg (Princeton’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering) and moderated by Eben Kirksey, Visiting Professor of Anthropology and the 2015-16 Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron Visiting Professor in the Environment and the Humanities.
Where Princeton Environmental Institute, 100 Guyot Hall
Webcast live on Google Hangouts, archived on YouTube
When Thursday, October 22, 2015. Lunch & discussion: 12:30-2:00
Reading  ATTUNING TO THE CHEMOSPHERE: Domestic Formaldehyde, Bodily Reasoning, and the Chemical Sublime -by Nicholas Shapiro
Sealing Shales versus Brittle Shales: A Sharp Threshold in the Material Properties and Energy Technology Uses of Fine-Grained Sedimentary Rocks- by Ian C. Bourg

Chemical species change quickly. Formaldehyde will only remain, as a species, for around 6 hours in the sun before shifting shape.  This event will depart from an essay written by Nicholas Shapiro, “Attuning to the Chemosphere: Domestic Formaldehyde, Bodily Reasoning, and the Chemical Sublime,” and will also explore an art exhibit he curated: “Chemical Species.”  Jennie Shanker will discuss her artwork, “Marcellus Shale Experiment,” which involves pottery made with materials caught up in the fracking controversy. It is possible to ethnographically track formaldehyde from the shale pores from which its precursor is siphoned, a mile below the earth’s surface, to abandoned homes decomposing into the rural landscape. This event will address the question– What does the good life look like in an engineered world that subsidizes our standard of living while ever-so-slowly smothering us?

Artworks in an exhibit curated by Nicholas Shapiro will be on display at Princeton from October 22nd until December 4th in the Anthropology Department, 2nd floor atrium, Aaron Burr Hall. Opening reception Oct. 22 at 6pm following a lecture by Stuart Kirsch (University of Michigan).


The Multispecies Salon presents, Pets as Flexible Persons

Pets as Flexible Persons
Who Peter Singer (Princeton University) and Lori Gruen (Wesleyan University) and with Shir Dafna (Ben-Gurion University) as a virtual guest.
Where Princeton Environmental Institute, 100 Guyot Hall
Webcast live on Google Hangouts, archived on YouTube
When Thursday, October 8th, 2015.  Lunch and discussion 12:30-2
Reading  “Flexible Personhood”: Loving Animals as Family Members in Israel – by Dafna Shir-Vertesh

The term “Flexible Personhood” brings together the notions of flexibility and personhood. The western sense of personhood takes the division between ‘human’ and ‘nonhuman’ as fundamental. According to this perception, ‘person’ is a subcategory of ‘human’, that is, one must be human in order to be regarded as ‘person’. Yet, regarding animals as persons can expand possibilities for understanding interconnectedness, as animals provide emotional outlets, form new bonds, and enable humans to practice, rehearse, and experience other relationships.  Animals’ roles in the home and the family can change. In certain cases, the pets are removed from the household or given away.  As “flexible” persons, animals can be loved as family members, even as children, but at the same time abandoned or abused. This event will add the letter P (for Personhood) to the ABCs of Multispecies Studies, an on-line compendium for an emergent field.


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Suburban Foraging: Acorn Mush 
Who Kimberly Tallbear and Linda Noel.  With Tom Boellstorff as a virtual guest
Where Princeton Environmental Institute, 100 Guyot Hall
 live on Google Hangouts, archived on YouTube
When Thursday, September 24th, 2015.  Acorn gathering 10:00am, lunch and discussion 12:30.

Native plants and peoples persist in suburbs that have been altered by long histories of white settler colonialism and commercial development.  The Pomo people, of northern California, have explored a shared politics of resistance with plants—responding to legacies that have displaced both people and other species.  Oak trees yield acorns, which can be cooked into a bitter mush that brings Pomo memories of massacres, forced marches, and internment to mind.  This event will orbit around a recipe for acorn mush, “Bitter Medicine is Stronger” by Linda Noel and Kimberly Tallbear, as well as an essay by Tom Boellstorff “Botanical Decolonization: Rethinking Native Plants.”  We will collect acorns together at 10:00, and then discuss the two essays over lunch at 12:30.  Acorn mush will be available for sampling.


The ABCs of Multispecies Studies
Webcast live on Google Hangouts, archived on YouTube
What/Who/ When
December 15th-18th, 2014
C for Cryopolitics (Emma Kowal and Joanna Radin), 5pm EST
S for Spectacular (Paige West), 6pm EST
W for Wild (Rosemary Collard) 7pm EST
R for Rot (Joanna Radin), 5pm EST
D for Diaspora (Laura Ogden), 5pm EST


Edible Companions
with Eben Kirksey and Miriam Simun
Tuesday, November 18th, 7 pm
Where: Bluestockings,  172 Allen Street, New York, NY 10002

Edible companions will be served up at this special Multispecies Salon event. Audience members will get to sample one of the unusual recipes from this book that illuminates how diverse organisms are entangled in political, economic, and cultural systems. Acorn mush, a bitter medicine, contains the promise of resurrecting endangered lifeways amidst human genocide and ecological disaster. Miriam Simun will also offer insider tips about how to make human cheese and unveil her recipe for reworking multispecies collaborations among mammals, microbes, and other companion species.  Audience members will also have the opportunity to don the dosdii, Simun’s wearable device, and sample the scent of Agalinis acuta, the only federally protected endangered plant species in New York State.

Biopolitical Tactics
Biopolitical Tactics
When: Saturday November 1st, 2014. 
Where: Babycastles Gallery + Interspace, 137 West 14th Street, Manhattan, NY. Free and open to the public. Performances and music through midnight.

Get schooled in the tactics of tickling, smelling, washing, listening, mind sensing, encrypting, caring, killing, and hacking. This one night only event will showcase work by bioartists profiled in the book, including performances by Kathy High and Adam Zaretsky as well as installations by Grayson Earle, Karin Bolender, Eben Kirksey, Krista Dragomer, and Tessa Farmer.  Inspired by the spirit of Beatriz da Costa.

The ABCs of Multispecies Studies
When: Monday October 20th, 2014, 7:00 p.m. U.S. EST
Where: The CUNY Graduate Center, Room 5307, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. Free and open to the public
Webcast live on Google Hangouts, archived on YouTube
Who/What: B for Becoming (Kate Wright), B for Buzz (Lisa Jean Moore and Mary Kosut), D for Double Death (Deborah Bird Rose),L for Labor (Jennifer Hamilton), P for Praxis (Beth Carruthers), and S for Species (John Hartigan).

The Multispecies Salon is creating a kind of alphabet that reaches to the biological as well as etymological–containing both roots and rhizomes. Authors of the Multispecies ABCs will move beyond the domain of ethnography, to bring in key morphemes from geography, ecology, archaeology, history, queer theory, and allied intellectual traditions. Letters will represent more than one word. A is for Animal as well for Anthropos; B is for Becoming and for Buzz; C is for Care and Charisma.

You cannot argue with a dictionary.  You can only write a new one.


Hope in Blasted Landscapes, Revisited
When: Thursday October 2nd, 2014
Where: Pharmacy Museum, 514 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA
Host: Eben Kirksey (UNSW)
Speakers: John Spencer Creevy (of Herman, Herman, & Katz, L.L.C.), Jacqueline Bishop, Pippin Frisbie-Calder, Scott Eustis (Gulf Restoration Network), Courtney Kearney (Naval Research Laboratory), Maria Brodine (Columbia University)


How To Interview A Plant
When: Monday August 18th, 2014
Webcast live on Google Hangouts (Austin 6 p.m., New York 7 p.m. & Canberra / Sydney 9 a.m.)
Speakers: John Hartigan (University of Texas at Austin), Erica Seccombe (Australian National University) & Eben Kirksey (UNSW)

Ectatomma Parasiticum

Critical Ant Studies
When: Thursday July 17th, 2014
Webcast live on Google Hangouts (Sydney 6 p.m. & London 9 a.m.)
Speakers: Deborah Gordon (Stanford University), Charlotte Sleigh (University of Kent) & Eben Kirksey (UNSW)


The Multispecies Salon presents: Michael Marder
When: Monday June 16th, 2014
Where: Room 309, Morven Brown, University of New South Wales
Webcast live on Google Hangouts (Sydney 6 p.m.)
Speaker: Michael Marder (University of the Basque Country, Vitoria-Gasteiz)


Poaching At The Multispecies Salon
American Anthropological Association (AAA) Annual Meetings. Saturday November 20th, 2010, 1:45 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
Where: New Orleans Sheraton, Grand Ballroom A, 5th Floor

Published as: Kirksey, S. Eben, Craig Schuetze, Nick Shapiro, Shiho Satsuka, Natasha Myers, Celia Lowe, Jacob Metcalf, Matei Candea, and Stefan Helmereich (2011) Poaching at the Multispecies Salon. Kroeber Anthropological Society Papers 99/100:129-153. (Download article PDF)

The Multispecies Salon @ The CUNY Graduate Center Wednesday Talk Series
When: Fall 2011
Where: The CUNY Graduate Center

Ailourography: On Cats Eating Chile Peppers
When: Wednesday September 28th, 2011 (4:15-5:30pm)
Speaker: Jeffrey Bussolini (Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work, College of Staten Island)

Transdisciplinarity & Porosity
When: Wednesday October 5th, 2011 (4:15-5:30pm)
Speaker: Jackie Brookner (Art, Parsons School of Design)

Archiving The Senses
When: Wednesday October 19th, 2011 (4:15-5:30pm)
Speaker: Orit Halpern (History, New School for Social Research)

Genetic Portraiture
When: Wednesday November 9th, 2011 (4:15-5:30pm)
Speaker: Dehlia Hannah

Entangled Empathy
When: Wednesday November 16th, 2011 (2:00-4:00pm)
Speaker: Lori Gruen (Environmental Studies, Wesleyan)

Odd Couples, Embodied Minds
When: Wednesday December 7th, 2011 (4:15-5:30pm)
Speaker: Traci Warkentin (Hunter College)


The Mellon Committee for Science Studies presents: Cosmopolitics
When: Saturday April 9th, 2011
Where: The CUNY Graduate Center
Keynote Speaker: Isabelle Stengers (Université Libre de Bruxelles)

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a companion to the book