Paul Wenzel Geissler

Paul Wenzel GeisslerNetwork Member

Paul Wenzel Geissler teaches social anthropology at the University of Oslo. He studied history and zoology in Hamburg, before converting to social anthropology in Copenhagen and Cambridge, and has worked in East Africa for 25 years. His current research concerns the ethnography of science, initially focusing on questions of transnational scientific cooperation in medical research, and its political economy and ethics, and more recently history and legacy, memory and remains, and more generally the relations between temporality and the material. He studied the latter in particular around scientific field stations and biological field research working across the boundary of anthropology and history, seeking collaboration across disciplines, and including the arts, and employing experimental ethnographic methods. Among his books are ‘The Land is Dying’ (Berghahn, 2011) with Ruth Prince, and ‘Para-states and Medical Science: Making African Global Health’ (Duke, 2015). Together with Guillaume Lachenal, John Manton and Noémi Tousignant, he edited ‘Traces of the Future. An archaeology of medical science in Africa’ (Intellect, 2016).

Current position
Professor of social anthropology
University affiliation
University of Oslo, Department of Social Anthropology

Research

Geissler’s current research remains focused on the practice of natural sciences, mainly in Eastern Africa. Apart from the question of relations through time, and the ethnography of remains and traces, he is interested in relations between fieldworkers and field in different settings, including issues of landscape and movement, observation, collaboration and collection, as well as in natural history, both as a subject of ethnographic enquiry, and a mode of ethnographic thinking and presentation.

At the same time, Geissler is leading the AnthroTox group, consisting of social anthropologists, biologists and chemists in Norway and Tanzania, studying questions of toxicity and toxicology in Africa, with PhD students’ current projects on electronic waste in Tanzania, and pesticides and aflatoxin in Kenya.

Moreover, he heads the anthropological Oslo part of the EU Marie Curie Innovative Training Network ANTHUSIA, that brings together 16 anthropological PhD students in Arhus, Oslo, Leuwen and Edinburgh, studying a range of different topics concerning ‘human security’ in Africa, including a number involved in medical, scientific and technical issues.

Publications

  • Geissler, P. W. and N. Tousignant (2020) "Beyond realism: Africa‘s medical dreams (Introduction to Special Issue)." in Africa 90 (1): 1-17.
  • Geissler PW and A Kelly (2016) "Field station as stage: Re-enacting scientific work and life in Amani, Tanzania." in Social Studies of Science 46 (6): 912-937.
  • Geissler PW, G Lachenal, J Manton, N Tousignant (2016) "Traces of the Future: An Archaeology of Medical Science in Twenty First Century Africa." Bristol: Intellect.
  • Geissler PW (ed.) (2015) "Para-states and Medical Science: Making Global Health in Africa." Durham: Duke University Press.
  • Chantler, Tracey, Faith Otewa, Peter Onyango, Ben Okoth, Frank Odhiambo, Michael Parker, and Paul Wenzel Geissler (2013) "Ethical challenges that arise at the community interface of health research: Village reporters’ experiences in Western Kenya." in Developing World Bioethics 13 (1): 30-37.
  • Geissler, P. Wenzel (2013) "Stuck in Ruins, or up and coming? The shifting geography of urban public health research in Kisumu, Kenya." in Africa: Journal of the International African Institute 83 (4): 539-560.
  • Geissler, Paul Wenzel (2013) "Public secrets in public health: Knowing not to know while making scientific knowledge." in American Ethnologist 40 (1): 13-34.
  • Geissler, P. Wenzel, Ann H. Kelly, John Manton, Ruth J. Prince, and Noémi Tousignant (2013) "Introduction: Sustaining the life of the polis." in Africa: Journal of the International African Institute 83 (4): 531-538.
  • Kamuya, Dorcas M., Vicki Marsh, Francis K. Kombe, P. Wenzel Geissler, and Sassy C. Molyneux (2013) "Engaging Communities to Strengthen Research Ethics in Low-Income Settings: Selection and Perceptions of Members of a Network of Representatives in Coastal Kenya." in Developing World Bioethics 13 (1): 10-20.
  • Madiega, Philister Adhiambo, Gemma Jones, Ruth Jane Prince, and Paul Wenzel Geissler (2013) "'She's My Sister-In-Law, My Visitor, My Friend': Challenges of Staff Identity in Home Follow-Up in an HIV Trial in Western Kenya." in Developing World Bioethics 13 (1): 21-29.
  • Geissler PW (2013) "Public secrets in public health: Knowing not to know while making scientific knowledge." in American Ethnologist 40 (1): 13-34.
  • Geissler PW (2013) "Stuck in ruins, or up and coming? The shifting geography of urban health work in Kisumu, Kenya." in Africa 83 (4): 539-560.
  • Geissler, Paul Wenzel, Richard Rottenburg, and Julia Zenker (eds.) (2012) "Rethinking biomedicine and governance in Africa." Bielefeld: Transcript.
  • Kelly, Ann H., and Paul Wenzel Geissler (eds.) (2012) "The value of transnational medical research: Labour, participation and care." London: Routledge.
  • Geissler, Paul Wenzel (2012) "'We are not paid - they just give us': Liberalisation and the longing for biopolitical discipline around an African HIV prevention trial." in Rethinking biomedicine and governance in Africa , edited by Paul Wenzel Geissler, Richard Rottenburg and Julia Zenker, 197-228. Bielefeld: Transcript.
  • Geissler, Paul Wenzel (2012) "'Transport to where?': Reflections on the problem of value and time à propos an awkward practice in medical research." in The value of transnational medical research: Labour, participation and care , edited by Ann H. Kelly and Paul Wenzel Geissler, 73-92. London: Routledge.
  • Geissler, Paul Wenzel, Ann H. Kelly, Babatunde Imoukhuede, and Robert Pool (2012) "Substantial transactions and an ethics of kinship in recent collaborative Malaria vaccine trials in The Gambia." in Collaborators collaborating: Counterparts in anthropological knowledge and international research relations , edited by Monica Konrad, 61-85. New York: Berghahn Books.
  • Geissler, Paul Wenzel, Richard Rottenburg, and Julia Zenker (2012) "21st century African biopolitics: Fuzzy fringes, cracks and undersides, neglected backwaters, and returning politics." in Rethinking biomedicine and governance in Africa , edited by Paul Wenzel Geissler, Richard Rottenburg and Julia Zenker, 7-19. Bielefeld: Transcript.
  • Kelly, Ann H., and Paul Wenzel Geissler (2012) "Investigating the ethics and economics of medical experimentation." in The value of transnational medical research: Labour, participation and care , edited by Ann H. Kelly and Paul Wenzel Geissler, 1-12. London: Routledge.
  • Geissler, Paul Wenzel, and Catherine Molyneux (eds.) (2011) "Evidence, ethos and experiment: The anthropology and history of medical research in Africa." New York: Berghahn Books.
  • Geissler, Paul Wenzel (2011) "Parasite lost: Remembering modern times with Kenyan government medical scientists." in Evidence, ethos and experiment: The anthropology and history of medical research in Africa , edited by Paul Wenzel Geissler and Catherine Molyneux, 207-232. New York: Berghahn Books.
  • Geissler, Paul Wenzel (2011) "Studying trial communities: Anthropological and historical inquiries into ethos, politics and economy of medical research in Africa." in Evidence, ethos and experiment: The anthropology and history of medical research in Africa , edited by Paul Wenzel Geissler and Catherine Molyneux, 1-28. New York: Berghahn Books.
  • Geissler, PW & C Molyneux (eds.) (2011) "Evidence, Ethos and Experiment: Anthropology and History of Medical Research in Africa." Oxford: Berghahn.
  • Geissler, Paul Wenzel, and Ruth J. Prince (2010) "The Land is dying: Contingency, creativity and conflict in Western Kenya." New York: Berghahn Books.
  • Geissler, Paul Wenzel, and Ruth J. Prince (2010) "Persons and relations in Luo plant medicines." in Plants, health and healing: On the interface of medical anthropology and ethnobotany , edited by Elisabeth Hsu and Stephen Harris, 179-224. Oxford: Berghahn.
  • Geissler, PW & RJ Prince (2010) "The Land is Dying: Creativity, Contingency and Conflict in Western Kenya." Oxford: Berghahn.
  • Becker, Felicitas, and Paul Wenzel Geissler (eds.) (2009) "AIDS and religious practice in Africa." Leiden: Brill.
  • Geissler, Paul Wenzel, and Ruth J. Prince (2009) "Active compounds and atoms of society: Plants, bodies, minds and cultures in the work of Kenyan ethnobotanical knowledge." in Social Studies of Science 39 (4): 599-634.