Two Visiting Environmental Humanities Faculty Join PEI for 2015-2016

Holly Welles ・ Princeton Environmental Institute

The Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) is pleased to welcome two visiting faculty members whose work is at the juncture of the environment and the humanities.

“We are thrilled to have anthropologist Eben Kirksey and architectural historian Daniel A. Barber joining us at Princeton for this academic year, both of whom are pioneers in this budding field,” said the Director of PEI François Morel. “The Environmental Humanities Initiative includes an active visitors program that brings leading scholars in the environmental humanities to Princeton along with a grants program that supports course development and faculty-led research.”

Since 2003, through the establishment of the Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron ’72 Visiting Professorship in the Environment and the Humanities, PEI has forged ties between environmental studies and the humanities and social sciences at Princeton. Working cooperatively with leadership in Princeton’s humanities disciplines, PEI identifies and appoints accomplished and emerging scholars whose academic work is at the intersection of a traditional humanities discipline and environmental studies.

Daniel A. Barber

Daniel Barber

September 2015 – June 2016 Visiting Professor of Architecture and the Princeton Environmental Institute Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron Visiting Professor in the Environment and Humanities 

Barber is an assistant professor in the Department of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. As an architectural historian with a research interest in the relationship between the design fields and the emergence of global environmental culture across the 20th century, Barber approaches research and teaching from an interdisciplinary perspective, integrating narratives and methods from histories of architecture, landscape architecture, technology, science, politics, economics and environmentalism.

His current research investigates the role of architectural technologies in the infrastructural and territorial transformations of the immediate post-World War II period in the United States. His first book “A House in the Sun: Modern Architecture and Solar Energy in the Cold War” will be published in the spring of 2016. Barber’s essays have appeared in a number of periodicals, including Grey Room, Technology and Culture, The Journal of Architecture, and Design Philosophy Papers; he is also editing a special issue of The Journal of Architecture on “Architectural History in the Anthropocene.” Barber is currently leading a research group on the history of architecture and climate for the Mellon Foundation and he is a fellow at the Penn Institute for Urban Research and at the University of Pennsylvania/Mellon Foundation project on Humanities, Urbanism and Design. Barber received a Ph.D. in architecture history and theory from Columbia University and a master’s degree in environmental design from Yale University.

During his tenure at PEI, Barber will continue writing his book “Climatic Effects: Technology, Architecture and the Globalization of the International Style.” He is also organizing a symposium that will be held during the spring semester on architecture and environmental communication and he will teach a graduate course in architecture and an undergraduate course for the Environmental Studies program.

Eben Kirksey

Eben KirkseySeptember 2015 – June 2016 Visiting Professor of Anthropology and the Princeton Environmental Institute Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron Visiting Professor in the Environment and Humanities

Kirksey is a permanent faculty member in the Environmental Humanities program at the University of New South Wales. While crossing conventional disciplinary divides, his research has contributed to theoretical conversations in the social sciences, biology, the humanities, and the creative arts. He has published two books and two edited collections: “Freedom in Entangled Worlds: West Papua and the Global Architecture of Power” (2012), “Emergent Ecologies” (2015), “The Emergence of Multispecies Ethnography” (2010), and “The Multispecies Salon” (2014). Writing in collaboration with MIT anthropologist Stefan Helmreich, Kirksey coined the phrase “multispecies ethnography” to characterize novel approaches for studying contact zones where lines separating nature from culture have broken down. Kirksey’s forthcoming book “Emergent Ecologies” follows the flight of capital and nomadic forms of life through fragmented landscapes of Panama, Costa Rica, and the United States. It explores how chance encounters, historical accidents, and parasitic invasions have shaped present and future multispecies communities. Kirksey earned his Ph.D. from the History of Consciousness Program at University of California, Santa Cruz—an inter-disciplinary department with faculty who have influenced the fields of anthropology, museums studies, literary criticism, and science studies. He also holds a master’s degree in history from the University of Oxford.

While at Princeton Kirksey will work on two new books, one of which is provisionally titled “Human Nature: A Multispecies Relationship.” He will continue working with a team of artists, biological scientists, philosophers, feminist theorists, and other anthropologists to collaboratively author an edited collection of essays on ethnographic tactics. In addition, he is organizing The Environmental Humanities Salon Lecture Series and a workshop on the microbiome. In the spring, he plans to teach an upper level undergraduate course on human nature and a freshman seminar titled “Environmental Art and Science: Thinking and Making with Ethnography.”