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Prof. Dr. Sandra Calkins


Freie Universität Berlin

Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology


Landoltweg 9-11
Room 009
14195 Berlin

Sandra Calkins has been researching molecular biology and plant studies as well as human-plant relations in Uganda and Australia since 2015. In addition to almost 16 months of ethnogrphoc fieldwork in gardens, testfields, greenhouses and laboratories, she conducted extensive archival research in the National Archive of Kampala and in the archive of Kew Gardens in London. Having taught seminars on human-plant relations twice (2016 and 2018), she has acquired expertise in the areas of Science and Technology Studies (STS),  Multispecies Studies (especially Critical Plant Studies), Materiality, Technology and Infrastructure,  the logic and dynamics of scientific testing procedures, as well as current issues in environmental debates and climate change.

plants, gardening, biotechnology, environment, toxicity, science and technology studies (STS), nutrition, population growth, Uganda, Sudan



2016 Who Knows Tomorrow? Uncertainty in North-eastern Sudan. Oxford: Berghahn. (2018 neu im Paperback)

In Vorbereitung Growing with bananas. Plants, health and humanitarian biotech in Uganda


Under review

“Between the lab and the field. Plants and places of testing in a Ugandan-Australian research collaboration”. Under review

“Toxic remains: infrastructural shortfalls at a Ugandan molecular biology lab.” Under review


“Chemical dissidents and vegetal collaborators”. Society and Space

“Writing planetary futures. Plants, loss and intersections of STS and anthropology in Germany” (under review Zeitschrift für Ethnologie)


2020    “Taking measures as endpoints?” Boasblogs, The end of negotiations, https://boasblogs.org/endofnegotiations/taking-measures-as-end-points/#comments

2019    “Health as Growth: Bananas, Humanitarian Biotech and Human-Plant Histories in Uganda.” Medicine Anthropology Theory 6(3): 29-53. http://medanthrotheory.org/read/11428/health-as-growth

2019    with T. Zoanni. “Population (what is it good for?)” Anthropological Quarterly 92(3): 919-29. https://doi.org/10.1353/anq.2019.0041

2019   “Infrastructures of citizenship.” South Asia. The Journal of South Asian Studies 42 (4): 816-21. https://doi.org/10.1080/00856401.2019.1633496

2018 w. U. Beisel and R. Rottenburg. “Divining, testing, and the problem of accountability“. Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 8 (1): 97–108.

2017 w. R Rottenburg. “Evidence, infrastructure and worth.” In Infrastructures and Social Complexity. A Companion, edited by P. Harvey, C. B. Jensen & A. Morita, 253-65. London: Routledge.

2016 “How ‘clean gold’ game to matter: metal detectors, infrastructure, and valuation.” Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 6 (2): 173-95.

2015 w E. Ille, S. Lamoureaux and R. Rottenburg. “Rethinking Institutional Orders in Sudan Studies: the Case of Land Access in Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur.” Canadian Journal of African Studies 49 (1): 175-95.

2014 w R. Rottenburg. “Getting Credit for What you Write? Conventions and Techniques of Citation in German Anthropology.” Zeitschrift für Ethnologie 139: 99-130.