Kirsty Wissing

Kirsty Wissing

PhD Candidate
Anthropology

Qualification

BA (First Class Hons), Monash University
Contact details
Room: 3281
Building: HC Coombs Building

Kirsty is a PhD candidate within the discipline of anthropology in the School of Culture, History and Language. Her research focuses on customary socio-religious attitudes to and uses of water and other fluids in relation to ideas of cleanliness/purity, resource control and morality. For this PhD, Kirsty undertook 14 months of field research in the Eastern Region of Ghana in 2016, 2017 and 2019. She considers how influences including colonialism, Christianity and the hydro-power industry have affected local attitudes and uses of these fluids, and asks how multiple co-existing ideas of cleanliness/purity can become politicised. Through this research, Kirsty seeks to bring local Akwamu values into dialogue with larger national issues of energy production, environmental resource responsibility and socio-political power in Ghana.

Kirsty has previous research experience with Australian Indigenous communities under the Native Title and Aboriginal Land Rights legislation in the Central Australia and the Pilbara regions of Australia, having worked for the Central Land Council (CLC) and Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) respectively. She 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).

Research interests:
Anthropology, water, religion, cultural heritage, energy, mining negotiations, native title, customary title, theatre, performance, Ghana, Australia

Thesis title:
Permeating Purity: Fluid Rituals of Belonging in Ghana

Publications:
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. (First published online 2 November, 2018). 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

Published interview:
Interview with S. Butcher Japanangka, conducted by K. Wissing. Interview excerpts published in Bowman, M. (ed.) 2015, Every Hill got a Story: Men and Women of Central Australia and the Central Land Council. Richmond, Victoria: Hardy Grant Books.

Public podcast:
Guest panel member on D’Aoila, A., Trembath, J., Theobald, S. and K. Wissing (2020). An exploration of truth and trust: This month on TFS. Available at https://thefamiliarstrange.com/2020/02/23/an-exploration-of-truth-and-trust [Accessed 25 February, 2020].

Professional reports:
Apoh, W., Fardin, J., Treasure, W. and K. Wissing 2015, “Customary law and mining: Comparing the interaction between the two in Ghana and Western Australia, with a focus on heritage.” International Mining for Development Centre (IM4DC) Action Research Report (May 2015). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/293302338_Customary_Law_and_Min...

Adam, M.A. 2014, “Three Years of Petroleum Revenue Management in Ghana: Transparency without Accountability,” ed. K. Wissing. Africa Centre for Energy Policy, Public Interest Report, No. 2 (July 2014). https://s3.amazonaws.com/oilmoney/CACHES/IMAGES/2017/11/27/10:59:04/ACEP...

Rayner, A. and K. Wissing 2013, "Anthropology Report" submitted as evidence for the Aileron Pastoral Lease Native Title Claim, Northern Territory, Australia. Submitted to the National Native Title Tribunal.

Scholarships, grants and awards:
2020: Awarded conference funding from Wenner-Gren and the European Association of Social Anthropologists.

2019: Awarded conference funding from Wenner-Gren Foundation and the Association of Social Anthropologists of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth.

2019: Endeavour Research Leadership Award from the Department of Education and Training, Australian Government. Hosted by the Global South Studies Center, University of Cologne, Germany.

2018: Australian National University Vice-Chancellor Travel Grant.

2018: African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific financial support to travel and present at the African Studies Association of the United Kingdom's international conference.

2017: Cherry Gertzel/African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific Postgraduate Prize.

2017: Australian Anthropological Society/Australian Network of Student Anthropologists Travel Grant.

2016: Endeavour Research Fellowship from the Department of Education and Training, Australian Government. Hosted by the Department of African Studies and Anthropology, University of Birmingham, the United Kingdom.

2015-2019: Australian Government Research Training Program Stipend Scholarship (formerly the Australia Postgraduate Award Scholarship).

2015: Marie Reay Prize in Anthropology from the Department of Anthropology, School of Culture, History and Language, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University.

2015: Australian Anthropological Society/Australian Network of Student Anthropologists Travel Grant.

2008: Faculty of Arts Honours Study Assistance Scholarship, Monash University.

2007 (ongoing): Golden Key Membership.

Conference/seminar papers:
2020:
Wissing, K. "Farming horizons turn hydro: Adjusting to aquaculture in Ghana." European Association of Social Anthropologists, University of Lisbon, Portugal (online due to COVID-19 restrictions), July 21.

Wissing, K. "Assistance and resistance of (hydro-)power: Contested control of water in Ghana." Africa and Its People: Interdisciplinary Lessons from ANU Research symposium, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, Australia, 4 March.

2019:
Wissing, K. "In good spirit: alcohol as access between physical and spiritual worlds." Australian Anthropological Society conference, Australian National University, Australia, 5 December.

Wissing, K. "Water as a state(-ment) of power: infrastructure and contestations of control in Ghana." Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Germany, 8 November.

Wissing, K. "Assistance and resistance of (hydro-)power: contested relations of control in Ghana." Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Goethe University, Germany, 31 October.

Wissing, K. "Permeating purity: fluid rituals of belonging in Ghana." Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Cologne, Germany, 23 October.

Wissing, K. "Back to nature? Frictions in fidelity to water's natural flow in Ghana." Association of Social Anthropologists of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth conference, University of East Anglia, the United Kingdom, 3 September.

Wissing, K. "Water access and agency in Ghana: thinking through thresholds of control." Australian National University African Studies Reading Group, Australian National University, Australia, 27 June.

Wissing, K. "Water in Ghana: hydro-social states and contested power" as part of a panel titled "Water in Africa - transnational and interdisciplinary approaches." Conversations across the Creek seminar series, Humanities Research Centre and Research School of Chemistry, Australian National University, Australia, 10 May.

Wissing, K. "Pure water: purity and power in ritual meanings and uses of water in Ghana." School of Demography seminar series, Australian National University, Australia, 19 February.

2018:
Wissing, K. "The fluid power of water: infrastructures and contested governance of the Akosombo Dam, Ghana." African Studies of Australasia and the Pacific conference, University of New South Wales, Australia, 21 November.

Wissing, K. "Pure water: purity and power in ritual meanings and uses of water in Ghana." The Royal Anthropological Institute, the United Kingdom, 21 September.

Wissing, K. "Bloody business: placing blood in the politics of purity and pollution in Ghana." Association of Social Anthropologists of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth conference, University of Oxford, the United Kingdom, 21 September.

Wissing, K. "Playing with the power of water: flows, blockages and infrastructures of hydro-sociality in relation to the Akosombo Dam, Ghana." African Studies Association of the United Kingdom conference, University of Birmingham, the United Kingdom, 12 September.

Wissing, K. "Performing religion: unpacking inter-faith dialogues through theatre in Ghana." African Studies Association of the United Kingdom, University of Birmingham, the United Kingdom conference, 11 September.

Wissing, K. "Dwelling on death in water: interpreting the state(s) of drowning and undercurrents of power in Ghana." European Association of Social Anthropologists conference, Stockholm University, Sweden, 15 August.

Wissing, K. "Pure water: purity and power in ritual meanings and uses of water in Ghana." African Studies Group, University of Melbourne, Australia, 27 March.

2017:
Wissing, K. "Of blood and water: flows, blockages and intimate hydro-sociality over the Volta River and Lake, Ghana." Australian Anthropological Society conference, University of Adelaide, Australia, 13 December.

Wissing, K. "Environment as justice: Akwamu reflections on river justice in Ghana." African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific conference, University of South Australia, Australia, 23 November.

Wissing, K. "Pure water: purity and power in ritual meanings and uses of water in Ghana." Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Goethe University, Germany 16 November.

Wissing, K. "Pure water: purity and power in ritual meanings and uses of water in Ghana." Department of Sociology, University of Ghana, Ghana, 27 October.

Wissing, K. "Pure water: purity and power in ritual meanings and uses of water in Ghana." Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Ghana, 26 October.

Wissing, K. "River refractions on global environmental management discourse: an Akwamu case study." College of Humanities conference, University of Ghana, Ghana, 18 July.

2016:
Wissing, K. "River reflections of personhood: drowning as non-human judgement of human virtue in Ghana." Australian Anthropological Society conference, University of Sydney, Australia, 13 December.

Wissing, K. "River reflections of personhood: drowning as non-human judgement of human virtue in Ghana." Department of African Studies and Anthropology, University of Birmingham, the United Kingdom, 6 December.

Wissing, K. "Pure water: exploring water as (religious) morality and sociality in Ghana." Department of African Studies and Anthropology, University of Birmingham, the United Kingdom, 19 October.

Wissing, K. "Pure water: purity, profit and power in ritual meanings and uses of water in Ghana." European Association of Social Anthropologists conference, University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy, 23 July.

2015:
Wissing, K. “Two sides of mining: local perspectives on the moral discourse of large-scale and small-scale mining operations in Ghana.” Australian Anthropological Society conference, University of Melbourne, Australia, 3 December.

Wissing, K. “Law, land and what lies beneath: mining impacts on customary law and heritage in Ghana.” Alice Springs Anthropologists Forum, Central Land Council, Alice Springs, Australia, 1 September.

Co-convened conference panels:
Wissing, K. and I. Bredenbröker. "Stuff of substance: valuing the tangible in transient states." Australian Anthropological Society conference, Australian National University, Australia, 5 December, 2019.

Carbon, B., Miescher, S. and K. Wissing. "The infrastructure question: the perspective of society." African Studies Association of the United Kingdom conference, University of Birmingham, the United Kingdom, 12 September, 2018.

Exhibitions:
Contributed works to "The colours of anthropology photography exhibition." Gallery in the Australian Centre on China and the World, Australian National University, Australia, 14 September - 12 October, 2018.

Contributed works to "The art of anthropology: photographs from the field." Foyer Gallery in the School of Art, Australian National University, Australia, 1-14 June, 2015.

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