UCL Anthropology


Lewis Daly

Lecturer in Social Anthropology of the Environment

Email: l.daly@ucl.ac.uk

Websites: UCL Anthropocene and TEA: The Ethnobotanical Assembly


Environmental Anthropology; Multispecies Ethnography; Ethnobotany; Ethnoecology; Indigenous Knowledge; Political Ontology; Anthropocene; Amazonia; Caribbean.

Research Summary

I am a Lecturer in Social Anthropology of the Environment at UCL. My research interests include the ethnography of Amazonia / lowland South America, human-environmental relationships, indigenous knowledge and rights, agriculture and fermentation technologies, shamanism and animist cosmologies, and the politics of conservation and sustainable development. Theoretically, my work is situated between social and environmental anthropology, and engages with ethnoecology, multispecies ethnography, posthumanist theory, and ontological approaches to anthropology. I am particularly interested in advancing a dedicated Anthropology of Plants / Phytoethnography.

I completed my doctorate (DPhil) in Anthropology at the University of Oxford in 2015, focusing on indigenous ecological knowledge and practices in the savannahs and rainforests of northern Amazonia. My doctoral thesis, a product of eighteen months of ethnographic fieldwork with the Makushi people of southern Guyana, concerned people-plant relationships in the indigenous lifeworld and cosmology – largely in the domains of gardening, cooking and fermentation, traditional medicine, and shamanism. The study was framed by an appraisal of the impact of conservation and ecotourism on Makushi lifeways and environmental practices.

I am co-editor of TEA: The Ethnobotanical Assembly -- an open-access online magazine about people-plant relationships.


I teach across a range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules in Social and Environmental Anthropology, including:

  • ANTH0003: Introduction to Social Anthropology (UG)
  • ANTH0069: Ethnography of Forest Peoples (UG and PG)
  • ANTH0106: Anthropology of Development (PG)
  • ANTH0105: Resource Use and Impacts (PG)
  • ANTH0209: Biosocial Medical Anthropology (PG)
  • Multispecies Ethnography in the Anthropocene (PG) – from 2021
  • Environmental Anthropology (UG) – from 2021

PhD Supervision

  • Alice Vittoria – Contested Forests in the Congo Basin: Logging, Conservation, and the BaYaka (Anthropology, 2018–)
  • Julian Riveros Clavijo – A Tale of Development and Migration: An Ethnography of Pacific Afro-Colombians Migrants in Antofagasta, Chile (Anthropology, 2019–)
  • Sarah Fischel – Multispecies Care and Coral Restoration in Bonaire (Geography, 2019–)
  • Juan Mejia Lopez – Reserves, Fishermen, NGOs, and Blue Crabs: The Multiple Makings of Guaimoreto Lagoon in Northern Honduras (Anthropology, 2020–)
  • Faidon Papadakis – Fungi, Plants, and Gardeners: Multispecies Socialities in the Context of Urban Gardening in Athens, Greece (Anthropology, 2020–)
  • Jack Jenkins-Hill – Sovereign Forests: Conservation and Expressions of Sovereignty in Tanintharyi, Myanmar (Anthropology, 2020–)
  • Sahib Singh – The Reluctant Forest: Mining, Environmentalism, and Resistance in Central India (Anthropology, 2020–)
  • Matthew French – Panpsychism in Western Europe (Anthropology, 2020–)
  • Sonia Dhandha – Conservation Prioritisation of Wild Orchids in International Trade (UCL Anthropology and Kew, 2020–)

Recent Publications

Editorial Work

Conference Organisation

  • 2017 – Plant Worlds, Centre for Biocultural Diversity (CBCD), University of Kent
  • 2014 – Botanical Ontologies, The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), University of Oxford