Paul G. Keil: Research & CV

Piggers, Pig-Dogs, Feral Pigs, and Other Pig-Related Actors: More-than-human relations emerging through the hunt in Australia

Research Project: Bewildering Boar
Research Area 2: Norms and Transgressions

Contact: paul.keil[at]


Keil is trained in social anthropology, his research guided by theories that understand cognition, action, and culture as socio-ecological achievements emerging from organism-environment interactions. From 2007-2011, as part of an interdisciplinary cognitive science team, Keil conducted work on collaborative remembering with older couples, examining how memory is distributed across social and material relations. In 2010, Keil conducted ethnographic research on sheepdog herding competitions, examining how human and dog complemented the other, their respective species-specific capacities integrated into an interspecies distributed cognitive system.  Postgraduate research was a multispecies ethnography and social anthropology of human-elephant relationships in Assam, northeast India, fieldwork funded by the Prime Minister’s Australia-Asia Endeavour Award. The broad objective was to examine how people’s environments, worldviews, and practices emerged in coordination with the lives of elephants, and to conceptualise forms of human-elephant sociality beyond the oft-typified dynamic of conflict, competition, and domination. Keil was awarded his PhD from Macquarie University, Australia, and is also a honorary postdoctoral fellow at Macquarie.

PROJECT: Piggers, Pig-Dogs, Feral Pigs, and Other Pig-Related Actors: More-than-human relations emerging through the hunt in Australia

Working as part of the TANDEM research project Bewildering Boars, Keil is conducting an anthropological study of recreational pig-hunting with dogs in Australia. The project is entitled: Piggers, Pig-Dogs, Feral Pigs, and Other Pig-Related Actors: More-than-human relations emerging through the hunt in Australia. It will examine the interspecies relationships constituting pig-dogging culture, and the broader historical, social, and environmental factors structuring those relations. The project has three objectives. First, to critique the construction of pigs as feral, invasive and hence ‘killable’, and to explore the link between pig-hunting and the animal’s disruption of postcolonial, ecological projects. Second, an ethnography of the mutually affecting interactions of human, pig and dog in hunting-related activities; analysing, for example, how hunters read and coordinate with nonhuman agents, and how gender and class identity is enacted through this mode of interspecies engagement. Finally, working with epidemiologists, identify the socio-ecological conditions for zoonotic transmission in pig-hunts. Anthropology can inform disease management strategies and grasp how disease is reconfiguring human-dog-pig relations.



2017: PhD, Anthropology. Macquarie University
Thesis Title – Living in Elephant Worlds: Human-elephant relations on the fringe of forest and village in Assam, Northeast India

2010: Bachelor of Arts Honours, Anthropology. Macquarie University

2009: Bachelor of Arts, Psychology. Macquarie University

2001: Bachelor of Design Honours, Visual communication. University of Technology, Sydney


Selected articles in peer reviewed journals
  • Keil, P.G. (2017). Unusual human-elephant encounters in North-East India. Journal of Religious and Political Practice, 3(3), 196-211
  • Keil, P.G. (2015). Human-Sheepdog Distributed Cognitive Systems: An analysis of interspecies scaffolding at a sheepdog trial. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 15(5), 508-529
  • Harris, C.B., Keil, P.G., Barnier, A. J., & Sutton, J. (2011). We Remember, We Forget: Collaborative Remembering in Older Couples. Discourse Processes, 46(4), 267-303
  • Sutton, J., Harris, C.B., Keil, P.G., & Barnier, A. J. (2010). The psychology of memory, extended mind and socially distributed remembering. Phenomenology of Cognitive Science, 9(4), 521-560
Book Chapters
  • Keil, P.G. (2016). Elephant-Human Dandi: How Humans and Elephants Move Through the Fringes of Forest and Village in Assam. In P. Locke & J. Buckingham (eds.), Rethinking Human-Elephant Relation in South Asia (pp. 197-223). New Delhi: Oxford University Press 
Book reviews
  • Keil, P.G. (2016). Y. Musharbash & G. Henning Presterudstuen, 2014. Monster Anthropology in Australasia and Beyond. The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 27(3), 415-417.
 Online essays
Selected Conference Presentations
  • Locke, P. & Keil. P.G. (2018). Beyond the Disciplinary Silo- Human-Elephant Interactions and The Imperative for Interdisciplinary Collaboration. American Anthropological Association, San Jose, California
  • Keil, P.G. (2018). Humans and elephants, co-creating worlds in Assam. Locating northeast India: Human mobility, resource flows, and spatial linkages. Tezpur University, Assam
  • Keil, P.G. (2016). Hidden elephants and the problem of the wild in multispecies ethnography. Anthropological Society Conference, University of Sydney
  • Keil, P.G. (2016). Colonising in the footsteps of elephants. School of Oriental and African Studies Elephant Conference, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
  • Keil, P.G. (2015). Uncanny human-elephant entanglements in Northeast India. Australian Anthropological Society Conference, University of Melbourne
  • Keil, P.G. (2015). Feeding a living god. New Zealand Asian Studies Society Conference, Canterbury University