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.
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.
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 Asia, Society & Animal, The Australian Journal of Anthropology, and Pakistan Journal of Historical Studies, among other outlets.
Kavesh has co-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.