Research Associate

Paul G. Keil

Paul is a researcher at the Institute of Ethnology, Czech Academy of Sciences. His research examines pig hunting practices in New South Wales, Australia, and the place and identity of feral pigs. 

Paul’s current research project is co-funded by an EU mobility grant and entitled “Hunting the Unruly Pigs of the New Wild” (2021-2022), and examines Australia’s relationship with wild pigs through recreational hunting. More-than-human ethnographic research aims to deliver novel insights on an under-studied and controversial interspecies interaction. Further, hunting offers an unexpected opening to explore new perspectives on the place, identity, and becoming of free-roaming pigs in Australia. For more information, see the project website

Australia has inherited pigs, hunting traditions and ontological orders from Europe. The country’s historical, cultural, and ecological peculiarities can deliver unique insights into Europe’s concerns about the endemic boar dramatic population resurgence, biosecurity risks, and future. 

Broadly, Keil is interested in human-nonhuman teamwork, hunting, and life lived with charismatic wildlife, informed by theoretical and methodological frameworks from more-than-human and ecological anthropology, cognitive science, and the environmental humanities. His regional and ethnographic expertise is in Northeast India and Australia. Paul received his PhD in sociocultural anthropology from Macquarie University in 2017 for an ethnography of human-elephant relationships in Assam, India. The research examined how people’s practices and worlds emerged in coordination with those of elephants and sought to conceptualize human-elephant sociality beyond the dynamics of conflict, competition, and domination. 


2017 | PhD in Social Anthropology. Macquarie University, Australia. [Thesis Title – Living in Elephant Worlds: Human-elephant relations on the fringe of forest and village in Assam, Northeast India]
2011 | Bachelor of Arts Honours, Anthropology. Macquarie University, Australia. [Dissertation title: Man-Sheep-Dog: Interspecies entanglements at sheepdog trials]
2010 | Bachelor of Arts, Psychology. Macquarie University, Australia.
2002 | Bachelor of Design Honours, Visual communication. University of Technology, Sydney.

Selected publications

  • 2021 | ‘Rank Atmospheres: the more-than-human scentspace and aesthetics of a pigdogging hunt.’ The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 32, 96-113.
  • 2020 | ‘On the Trails of Free-Roaming Elephants: Wild human-elephant relations, mobility, and history in upland Southeast Asia.’Transfers, 2-3.
  • 2017 | ‘Uncertain human-elephant encounters in North-East India.’ Journal of Religious and Political Practice, 3(3), 196-211.
  • 2016 | ‘Elephant-Human Dandi: How Humans and Elephants Move Through the Fringes of Forest and Village in Assam.’ In P. Locke & J. Buckingham (eds.), Conflict, Negotiation, Co-existence: Rethinking Human-Elephant Relation in South Asia (pp. 197-223). New Delhi: Oxford University Press, India.
  • 2015 | ‘Human-Sheepdog Distributed Cognitive Systems: An analysis of interspecies scaffolding at a sheepdog trial.’ Journal of Cognition and Culture, 15(5), 508-529.