Muhammad Kavesh is an Australian Research Council's DECRA Fellow, affiliated with the School of Culture, History, and Language, at the Australian National University. His 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 currently based at the University of Toronto as a FAS Postdoctoral Fellow studying the ethics of air surveillance through "spy pigeons" on the Indian-Pakistani border, and its moral, religious, and political significance in contemporary South Asia.
Kavesh is an 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 three-year teaching experience at the Australian National University where he convened 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 of working with multiple humanitarian organizations in Islamabad (Pakistan) on the UN, European Union, and DFID projects.
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).