UCL Anthropocene


Dr Jerome Lewis

Academic position: Associate Professor

Department: Anthropology

Telephone number: 0207 679 5567

Email: jerome.lewis@ucl.ac.uk

UCL Website: Dr Jerome Lewis 


Jerome’s research with hunter-gatherers of Central Africa began in 1993. During many years of fieldwork in the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) with BaYaka forest hunter-gatherers he studied the radically egalitarian politics and economics of these societies with a focus on their conceptualizations of the forest and how they manage its abundance through taboo, myth, ritual, music and dance. Recent publications examine music and dance in cross-cultural perspective, and the evolution of language, music and modern human culture.

Observing the detrimental effects of outsiders’ interventions in their forest led to applied research supporting conservation efforts by forest people and facilitating them to better represent themselves to outsiders using new technologies developed by the Extreme Citizen Science team he co-directs at UCL. Recent work as director of the Center for the Anthropology of Sustainability’s Flourishing Diversity network platforms indigenous and alternative voices to provide insight and policy change for ensuring a future inhabitable earth.

Yale interview

Research Projects:

Award winning early work in developing procedures to implement free, prior and informed consent in the context of extractive industries working in the Congo Basin led to research in developing community-based monitoring systems. This applied research supporting conservation efforts by forest people and facilitating them to better represent themselves to outsiders was recognized by the Cuthbert Peek Award from the Royal Geographical Society 2010. This work resulted in collaboration with Prof Muki Haklay (Geography) to set up the Extreme Citizen Science (ExCiteS) research group in 2011 to develop the tools and methodologies to enable any community regardless of literacy or language to collect and analyse scientifically valid data. ExCiteS is a winner of the Nominet Trust 100 2014 award for using digital innovation to change the world for the better, and the Provost’s 2018 Public Engagement Award at UCL. 

Building on his work in the Human Ecology Research Group (HERG) at UCL Anthropology Jerome established the Centre for the Anthropology of Sustainability (CAoS) in 2013. CAoS’s inaugural conference in 2015 brought together a host of anthropological luminaries to reflect on what sustainability means from a global cross-cultural perspective.  The rich reflections published in 2017 provided Jerome with the inspiration to develop the concept of Flourishing Diversity as an effective way to solve key ecological and ethical crises facing humanity in the Anthropocene. In 2018 CAoS won the Newton Prize for Brazil with the indigenous organisation CTI, Guarani and Ashaninka peoples of the Atlantic and Amazon forests. In 2019, CAoS’s work promoting environmental justice and social sustainability in the Congo Basin was part of 100 disruptive discoveries #MadeAtUCL.

www.flourishing diversity.com


Lewis, J. 2020. "Living with the Forest." Scientific American 322, 5, 54-63 (May 2020). doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0520-54

Fryer-Moreira, R. and J. Lewis. Methods in anthropology to support the design and implementation of geographic citizen science. In: Skarlatidou, A. and Haklay ,M. (eds) ‘Geographic Citizen Science Design - No One Left Behind’. London: UCL Press (forthcoming 2020).

Brightman, M. and J. Lewis (eds) 2017. The Anthropology of Sustainability: Beyond Development and Progress. Palgrave Studies in the Anthropology of Sustainability. Palgrave: New York. 

M. Stevens, M. Vitos, J. Altenbuchner, G. Conquest, J. Lewis and M. Haklay, 2014. "Taking Participatory Citizen Science to Extremes," in IEEE Pervasive Computing, 13 (2): 20-29, Apr.-June. 2014. doi: 10.1109/MPRV.2014.37


Msc Anthropology, Ecology and Development.

ANTH0021 Hunter-gatherers: past, present and future. 

ANTH0102 Ecology of Human Groups.