Center for the History of Global Development

Peter Wynn Kirby 

Dr. Peter Wynn Kirby, M.Phil., Ph.D. (Cantab)
Senior Member

Saint Antony's College

University of Oxford 


Along with his Shanghai University affiliation, Peter Wynn Kirby is a health/environmental specialist and ethnographer at the University of Oxford, where he is a Senior Member of Saint Antony's College, Oxford. Peter's latest research fellowship was awarded by the Leverhulme Trust. He holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge.

Peter has held full-time or tenured positions at several international universities and has been invited to take up visiting posts at the University of Tokyo, the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris, and elsewhere. Much of Peter's latest research has been directed at electronic waste ("e-waste") conversion, or scavenging, in East Asia. He is currently investigating the challenges and opportunities posed by robotic waste, an under-recognized form of e-waste that is set to grow exponentially in the coming years. Peter has also done extensive research on nuclear power in Japan, France, and the UK; and nuclear fallout and decontamination in Fukushima, along with a cultural analysis of waste, pollution, and purity in Japan generally. While much of Peter's research has, then, been directed toward environmental issues in East Asia - most harrowingly in ethnographic pursuit of toxic waste controversies - his interests span a range of themes including reckonings of illness and health; broad anthropological approaches to energy, including renewables; interpretation of 'space' and movement; architecture, discipline, and resistance in cities; operations of social exclusion; the complex 'conversions' of material culture, from recycled garbage to reprocessed radioactive matter; and popular culture, particularly involving representations of dystopia.