Dr Kirsty Wissing’s research on Ghana

Kirsty Wissing is a recent ANU postgraduate from the School of Culture, History and Language, College of Asia the Pacific, ANU. She received her PhD on July 16th, 2021, although the Graduation Ceremony has been postponed.

Specialising in anthropology, her topic was ‘Permeating purity: Fluid rituals of belonging in Ghana’.

Her research focused on customary rituals and socio-religious attitudes to and uses of water and other fluids in relation to ideas of cleanliness and purity, resource control and morality. For her PhD, Dr Wissing undertook 14 months of field research in the Akwamu Traditional Area of southern Ghana in 2016, 2017 and 2019. She considered how influences including colonialism, Christianity and the hydro-power industry have affected local attitudes and uses of these fluids and asked how multiple co-existing ideas of cleanliness and purity can become politicised. Through this research, Kirsty brought local Akwamu values into dialogue with larger national issues of energy production, environmental resource responsibility and socio-political power in Ghana.

Dr Wissing has also conducted research into and managed programs about the petroleum, mining and energy industries in Ghana for the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP). She is currently employed as a CSIRO Early Career Research Postdoctoral Fellow where she is researching Indigenous Australian biocultural knowledge and attitudes to the emerging field of synthetic biology as part of CSIRO’s Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform. During her PhD, Dr Wissing was the recipient of two Endeavour Leadership Awards, funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Education, Skills and Employment, and was an Endeavour Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham’s Department of African Studies and Anthropology and the University of Cologne’s Global South Studies Center.

Dr Wissing’s research was brought to the attention of other ANU Africanists when she was awarded the AfSAAP/Cherry Gertzel Prize at the 2017 Conference of the African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific (AfSAAP).

The thesis abstract is available online by searching for ‘Kirsty Wissing’ in ANU Library Catalogue. Due to local governance sensitivities in her field site, full access to the thesis is currently restricted. However, Dr Wissing’s research can be publicly accessed in the following articles published during her PhD.

• Wissing, K. 2019, “Assistance and Resistance of (Hydro-)Power: Contested Relationships of Control over the Volta River, Ghana.” Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, Vol 37(7), pp.1161–1178. https://doi.org/10.1177/0263774X18807482
• Wissing, K. 2019 “Environment as Justice: Interpreting the State(s) of Drowning and Undercurrents of Power in Ghana.” Australasian Review of African Studies, Vol 40(1), pp.12-30. https://doi.org/10.22160/22035184/ARAS-2019-40-1/12-30
• Apoh, W., Wissing, K., Treasure, W. and J. Fardin 2017, “Law, Land and What Lies Beneath: Exploring Mining Impacts on Customary Law and Cultural Heritage Protection in Ghana and Western Australia.” African Identities, Vol.15(4), pp.367-386. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14725843.2017.1319752
• Treasure, W., Fardin, J., Apoh, W. and K. Wissing 2016, “From Mabo to Obuasi: Heritage and Customary Law in Ghana and Western Australia.” Journal of Energy & Natural Resources Law, Vol. 34(2), pp.191-211. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02646811.2016.1133986

ASPI Podcast on Unrest in South Africa

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute‘s podcast “Policy, Guns and Money” recently interviewed the Humanities Research Centre’s Hans Mol Research Fellow in Religion and the Social Sciences, Dr Ibrahim Abraham, on the unrest in South Africa following the jailing of former South African President Jacob Zuma.

Dr Abraham’s book Race, Class & Christianity in South Africa: Middle-Class Moralities will be launched online on 30 August 2021.

Click here to listen to the podcast, which also features Dr Cassandra Steer from the ANU Institute of Space and the ANU College of Law discussing space tourism. The podcast is also available on Soundcloud, Apple podcasts, and Spotify.

Islamic Relief Australia: Program Officer Vacancy

Islamic Relief Australia is looking for a Program Officer- Local and International;
To work closely with the Program Director and Program Coordinator in developing IRAUS Programs based on our strategic priorities primarily for Australia and some focus internationally.
Ability to deliver, monitor and evaluate the programs undertaken.
To work closely with the Program Coordinator in developing humanitarian and development projects in Australia and across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia and Asia Pacific; ensuring programmatic coherency.

For more information see:
https://islamicrelief.org.au/jobs/program-officer-local-and-international/?mc_cid=8fd909f310&mc_eid=aca2512739

ANU Humanities Research Centre Visiting Fellowships Program – “Mobilities”

Applications for the 2022 Humanities Research Centre Visiting Fellowship Program – on the theme of ‘Mobilities’ – are now open.

The Humanities Research Centre (HRC) was established in 1972 as a national and international centre for excellence in the humanities and as a catalyst for innovative humanities scholarship and research within the Australian National University. The HRC interprets the ‘humanities’ generously, recognising that new methods of theoretical enquiry have done much to break down the traditional distinction between the humanities, the creative arts, and the social sciences.

Our theme for 2022 is Mobilities.

Migration, asylum, tourism, transport, urban mobility, career mobility, social mobility, emotion and affect – our theme for 2022 registers the growing use of ‘mobility’ and ‘mobilities’ as key descriptive and theoretical terms in the humanities and social sciences, and offers an invitation to scholars to think about the concept in creative and interdisciplinary ways. In line with the suggestive multivalence of the word itself, proposals might consider ‘mobility’ socio-politically, physically, or mentally, as a local or global phenomenon, in different cultures and different historical periods – or they might want to investigate the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic has affected our social, physical, and psychological mobility, and the way we are likely to act and think about mobility and immobility in the future.

The Humanities Research Centre looks forward to welcoming scholars from across the world and across the disciplines as we explore a topic that will not stand still.

Full details of the application process are available on the HRC website here.

(Please note this fellowship is not open to ANU faculty or independent researchers, and as travel is strictly regulated during the pandemic, we cannot guarantee international visiting fellowships will be possible. The current application deadline of 31 July is likely to be extended, check the website for updates.)