Pierre du Plessis

Image of Pierre du Plessis
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Room 345
Available hours By appointment
Visiting address P.A. Munchs Hus

Academic interests

  • Environmental Humanities
  • Environmental Anthropology
  • Multispecies Ethnography
  • Anthropocene Studies
  • Decolonial Studies
  • Indigenous knowledges
  • Landscapes
  • STS
  • Africa, Southern Africa, Botswana, and the Kalahari


Pierre du Plessis is an environmental anthropologist who studies the skilled practices of tracking and gathering as modes of noticing Kalahari Desert landscapes. Pierre completed parallel PhDs between Aarhus University and the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2018, as a core member of the Aarhus University Research on the Anthropocene project. His PhD dissertation, Gathering the Kalahari: Tracking Landscapes in Motion was awarded the Aarhus University Research Foundation PhD Prize 2019. This work utilizes tracking and gathering as methods and analytics to describes more-than-human landscapes and contemporary transformations to these landscapes due to the growth of cattle production and extractivist industries. 

Pierre recently completed the Independent Research Fund Denmark’s International Postdoctoral Research fellowship, for which he was cohosted by Environmental Humanities South, University of Cape Town and the Centre for Environmental Humanities, Aarhus University. His project, Enacting Contested Landscapes: Dwelling, Conservation, and Prospecting in the Kalahari is an anthropological investigation of the contrasting formulations of landscape among indigenous communities, wildlife conservationists, and natural gas prospectors in the landscapes of the Kalahari Desert, Botswana. Specifically, it examines how prospectors work to turn land into a resource for Coal-Bed-Methane (CBM) extraction and the resulting conflicts with local human communities and ecologies.

Pierre is currently a researcher at the Oslo School of Environmental Humanities, University of Oslo. His new project investigates the socioecological changes brought about by preferential trade agreements that bring large quantities of beef to Norway from Botswana—and how this effects landscapes in both countries. It will do so through a multisited, multispecies ethnography, of: 1) the expansion of landscapes of industrial beef production in the Kalahari Desert; and 2) the conversion of former landscapes of beef production in Europe. More specifically, the project builds on previous research in order to “track” the movement of knowledge, value, and species as these participate in the emergence of a noncontiguous zone of beef production/consumption that connects across the Global North and Global South in sometimes unexpected ways. Doing so will contribute to more-than-human understandings of transnational agriculture in ways that shine fresh light on the received geographies of postcolonial capitalism.



Positions held



Tags: Environmental Humanities, miljøhumaniora, Africa, Anthropocene, decolonial studies, Indigenous methodologies, Anthropology, Environmental Anthropology, environmental justice, Multispecies Studies, Landscape, STS


Scientific articles, book chapters, and working papers

du Plessis, Pierre. (In press). “Tracking as Method: Perspectival Sensibilities and More-than-Human Methods in a Desert of Tracks” in Bubandt, Nils et al (eds). Rubberboots Methods in the Anthropocene. University of Minnesota Press (Summer 2022)

Waltorp, K., Fonck, M. Dale, RF, and du Plessis, P. (In press) “Imagining Energy Futures Beyond Colonial Continuation” in Pink, Sarah and Waltorp, Karen (eds) Imagining Energy Futures: Anthropocene challenges, emerging technologies and everyday life. DeGruyter (August 2022).

du Plessis, Pierre. (2022) “Tracking Meat of the Sand: Tracking and Gathering as Methods for Noticing Multispecies Landscapes in the Kalahari.” Environmental Humanities 14(1). Duke University Press

Liebenberg, Louis, /Am //Ao, Shermer, Michael, Biesele, Megan, /Uase Xhukwe, Carruthers, Peter, Di//xao, Lombard, Marlize, ≠Oma Kxao, Hansson, Sven Ove, Horekhwe (Karoha) Langwane, Elbroch, Mark, !Nisa /Ui, Keeping, Derek, Humphrey, Glynis, Newman, Greg, /Ui G/a’qo, Steventon, Justin, Njoxlau Kashe, Stevenson, Robert, Benadie, Karel , du Plessis, Pierre, Minye, James, /Ui /Kxunta, Ludwig , Bettina , ≠Oma Daqm, Louw, Marike, Dam Debe, and Voysey, Michael. (2021) "Tracking Science: A Complement to and an Alternative for Those Excluded by Citizen Science" Citizen Science: Theory and Practice. Ubiquity Press

du Plessis, Pierre. Green, Lesley. and Farr, Vanessa.(2020) “Neither Markets Nor Militaries: On the critical importance of restoring the commons.” Allegra (special thematic on COVID19): https://allegralaboratory.net/neither-markets-nor-militaries-on-the-critical-importance-of-restoring-the-commons/ [Peer-reviewed digital publication]

du Plessis, Pierre. (2020) “When Boreholes Become Herders, Cattle Menace Grasslands” in Tsing, Anna et al (eds) Feral Atlas: The More-than-Human Anthropocene. Stanford Digital Projects- Stanford University Press. [Peer-reviewed digital publication]

du Plessis, Pierre. (2019) “Sentir le Lion: Les Sedssous-de-Bras Qui Fournillent et l’Homme qui Calinait les Lions” in Billebaude numéro 15, Cueillir, novembre 2018, co-édition Fondation François Sommer (Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature) et Glénat

du Plessis,  Pierre. (2018) “Sur la Piste Des Truffles du Désert du Kalahari” in Billebaude numéro 12, Cueillir, mai 2018, co-édition Fondation François Sommer (Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature) et Glénat

du Plessis, Pierre. (2018) “Tingling Armpits and the Man Who Hugs Lions: Dangerous Ghosts of Sameness and Different Differences” in “A Non-secular Anthropocene: Spirits, Specters and Other Nonhumans in a Time of Environmental Change”. In Bubandt, N, ed More-than-Human. AURA Working Papers Volume 3, 2018: 97-106


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Published Aug. 27, 2021 12:13 PM - Last modified Sep. 6, 2022 12:11 PM