Irina Wenk

Irina Wenk, Dr.

Associated researcher

Research interests

Anthropology of human-animal relations, anthropology beyond the human, political anthropology, political ecology, hippology, agriculture, plant and animal breeding, anthropology of mining, maps and power

Research area

Philippines, Austria, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland


Human-animal relations, anthropology beyond the human, political anthropology, political ecology, indigenous land rights, natural resources conflicts, ethnography

Short bio

Irina Wenk is a freelance social anthropologist, aspiring organic farmer, and horse expert. She teaches social anthropology at various Swiss universities as well as human-animal relations at the bio-dynamic school in Rheinau. Her current research focus lies in the species-essential, future-oriented husbandry of farm animals (formerly "livestock"). Her methodological approach is on the one hand eth(n)ography, i.e. an interplay of anthropological approaches and animal-focused observation, and on the other hand AgriKultur, an ethnologically inspired agricultural practice. Against this background, she runs a research farm focusing on nature-inspired horse husbandry and training in southern Germany ( Other research interests include the politics of animal and plant breeding as well as indigenous land rights and natural resources conflicts.

Irina studied Social Anthropology, International Relations and International Law at the University of Zurich and graduated in 2003 with a Masters thesis on colonial and post-colonial pacification processes in the northern Philippines. For her doctoral project within the framework of the NCCR North-South, she conducted research among the Matigsalog people for 18 months in the central mountainous region of the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. Her dissertation focused on the creation of indigenous territories and their governance under indigenous self-government. From 2010 to 2011, she was a visiting doctoral student at the University of Toronto.
Irina conducted several post-doctoral research projects, including on horse fighting in the Philippines, on the politics and practices of horse breeding along the German-Danish border, and on production, trade, and rescue of so-called "slaughter foals" in Europe in the context of breed preservation programs and meat production.


CV Irina Wenk (PDF, 140 KB)