Matt Barlow

Matt Barlow

Higher Degree by Research Candidate

School of Social Sciences

Faculty of Arts


Born in Melbourne, and raised in Adelaide, I am a PhD student in Anthropology at the University of Adelaide, South Australia. In 2016 I was awarded first-class honours in Anthropology from the University of Adelaide for my thesis Enchanted Bee-ings: Encounters and Movements beyond the Human, which I then edited and shortened before it was published in human-animal interface studies journal Humanimalia. It aimed to locate urban beekeeping as an interspecies ritual with the potential to break down the dualisms of nature/culture urban/rural. It was in this way that I became interested in the intersections of ecology, spirituality and ritual practice, and urban space. Through my current doctoral research, I aim to bring these interests into conversation with the critical issues of waste management and water security in Kochi, an urbanizing delta city in the South Indian state of Kerala.

My doctoral research aims to investigate the entanglements of water, waste, and energy along Kerala’s backwaters in South India. The backwaters have been a central characteristic of Keralan life for centuries, providing a means to transport goods, to procure a high protein diet (fish), and more recently, as a tourist attraction. However, these serene waters are becoming increasingly polluted by industrial run-off, oil from petrol powered boats, and a lack of waste management in the region. I hope that by spending time with a number of communities along the backwaters that I will be able to contribute to the study of (post)colonial infrastructures, the political ecology of water, and the anthropology of waste in urbanizing South Asia.

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  • Journals

    Year Citation
    2017 Barlow, M. (2017). Enchanted Bee-ings: Encounters and Movements Beyond the Human. Humanimalia: a journal of human/animal interface studies, 8(1), 150-166.

(2016-2020) Divisional Scholarship from the Department of Anthropology and Development Studies, School of Social Sciences, University of Adelaide. 


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