Muhammad Kavesh
20172021

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Biography

Dr Muhammad Kavesh is an Australian Research Council's Discovery Early Career Research Award fellow, affiliated with the School of Culture, History, and Language, at the Australian National University. He is currently working on two research projects. Spy Pigeons: Contested Ethics of Hospitality and Hostility in South Asia critically contrasts Jacques Derrida's philosophy of hospitality with the writing of Punjabi poet, Waris Shah (Heer-Ranjha), to explore the ethics of more-than-human hospitality (specifically to alleged "spy" pigeons) at the India-Pakistan border. Kavesh is undertaking this work at the University of Toronto under the guidance of Prof Naisargi Dave. Expected publications include three papers (1) with the Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute (2) the American Ethnologist and (3) the Journal of Asian Studies. The larger project is being planned as a book publication with the University of Washington Press.

The second project Donkey Politics: Everyday Work, Livelihoods, and Changing Values along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor explores how China’s mega BRI projects shape the everyday life of millions of people in host countries. In particular, his project examines China’s soaring demand for Pakistan’s donkeys through CPEC for developing a Chinese traditional medicine, ejiao, and investigates how this presents multiple challenges for the economy, employment, and social values of marginalised populations in Pakistan. This study expects to develop a culturally grounded counter-narrative to China's BRI through a critical examination of transformations in human-donkey relationships in a rapidly changing Pakistan. Planned publications include a special issue that Kavesh is co-editing with Dr Natasha Fijn and Dr Catie Gressier for the Anthropology Today titled An Anthropology of Mutualism (December 2022) and an edited book that Kavesh is co-editing with Dr Natasha Fijn titled Living with Diversity in a More-than-Human World.

Kavesh is the author of Animal Enthusiasms: Life Beyond Cage and Leash in Rural Pakistan (Routledge 2021, part of Rebecca Cassidy and Garry Marvin series "Multispecies Anthropology: New Ethnographies). The book is based on two-year ethnographic fieldwork (conducted between 2008-2018) and explores cultural and gendered explanations of animal sports (pigeon flying, cockfighting, and dogfighting) in rural Pakistan. Kavesh also co-edited a special journal issue, A Sensory approach for Multispecies Anthropology, for the Australian Journal of Anthropology (TAJA). Kavesh's other writings have appeared in South AsiaSociety & AnimalThe Australian Journal of Anthropology, and Pakistan Journal of Historical Studies, among other outlets.

Kavesh has convened panels at the American Anthropological Association's annual meeting; Royal Anthropological Institute's annual conference; and the Australian Anthropological Society's annual conference.

Kavesh's teaching experience includes convening courses such as "The Making of South Asia (2018)", "Culture and Modernity in Asia (2019)", and "Anthropology and Technology in India (2020)". He also carries professional work experience working with multiple humanitarian organizations in Islamabad (Pakistan) on the UN, European Union, and DFID projects.

Selected Publications

Kavesh, M. A. (2021) “Animal Enthusiasms: Life Beyond Cage and Leash in Rural Pakistan,” Routledge: London and New York.

Kavesh, M. A. (2021) “Sensuous Entanglements: A Critique of cockfighting conceived as ‘cultural text’” Senses and Society, Vol 16, No. 2.

Kavesh, M. A. (2021) “The Flight of the Soul: Understanding the Self in Rural Pakistan,” The Australian Journal of Anthropology, Vol 31, No. SI1.

Fijn, N. & Kavesh, M. A. (2021). “Sense-Making in More-than-human World,” The Australian Journal of Anthropology, Vol 31, No. SI1.

Narayan, K. & Kavesh, M. A. (2019) “Priceless Pursuits: Following Enthusiasm in North India and Pakistan,” South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies (Vol 42, No. 4, pp. 711-725)

Kavesh, M. A. (2019) “Dog fighting: Performing Masculinity in Rural South Punjab, Pakistan,” Society and Animal, Journal of Human-Animal Studies, (Vol 27, No. 2, pp. 1-19)

Kavesh, M. A. (2018) "From Passion of Kings to Pastimes of the People: Pigeon Flying, Cockfighting, and Dogfighting in South Asia,” Pakistan Journal of Historical Studies, Indiana University Press, USA (Vol 3, No. 1, pp. 61-83).

Education/Academic qualification

Anthropology, PhD, The Australian National University

Award Date: 14 Aug 2018

Anthropology, Master, Quaid-I-Azam University

Award Date: 21 Jan 2012

External positions

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Toronto

1 May 20211 May 2023

Expertise Areas

  • Ethics of Care and Violence
  • Multispecies Ethnography
  • Religion and Society
  • Gender and Masculinities
  • Pakistan
  • Popular Culture
  • Modern Islam
  • Identity Politics
  • Belt and Road Initiative
  • Geo-politics in modern South Asia

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