UCL Anthropology


Lewis Daly

Lecturer in Social Anthropology​

Email: l.daly@ucl.ac.uk

DPhil Anthropology,​ Oxford​ (​2011​-1​5​)​ - ESRC Fellowship
​MSc Social​ Anthropology, ​Oxford​ (200​9​)
BSc Anthropology, UCL (2007)

Research Interests

  • ​Environmental Anthropology
  • ​Lowland South America, Amazonia, the Guianas, the Caribbean
  • ​Multispecies Anthropology​ (ethnoecology, ethnobotany, ethno-ornithology)
  • ​The ​Anthropology of Techniques ​(horticulture, hunting, fishing, fermentation)​
  • Shamanism and Indigenous Cosmologies
  • ​Personhood and the Body​ in Amazonia
  • The Politics of Conservation (ecotourism, PES incentives, REDD+)

Current ​Research Projects

  • Ongoing ethnographic field research with the Carib-speaking Makushi people of Amazonian Guyana, South America. I have been working with Makushi communities in the Rupununi savannahs of Guyana since 2011. My field research concerns multispecies relationships, agroecological systems, ontological hybridity, and the politics of conservation.
  • Since 2015, I have been collaborating with the Ethno-ornithology World Archive (EWA) and the non-profit organisation BirdLife International to conduct a global literature review into the roles of avifauna and ethno-ornithology in delivering conservation at community level. The ongoing project spans perspectives from research, practice, and policy.
  • As of June 2016, I have been working with the Goeldi Museum (MPEG) in Belém, Brazil on an ethnobiological project concerning human-plant communication in indigenous Amazonia. The project - entitled 'Sign, Substance, and Sensation' - focuses on the role of chemo-sensation and micro-materiality in human-vegetal interactions, and will result in a series of co-authored articles.

Selected Publications

Daly, Lewis and Glenn H. Shepard Jr. 2019. Magic Darts and Messenger Molecules: Toward a phytoethnography of indigenous Amazonia. Anthropology Today 35(2):13-17.

Daly, Lewis. 2019. The Nature of Sweetness: An indigenous fermentation complex in Amazonian Guyana. In R. Dunbar and K. Hockings (eds.), Alcohol and Humans: A long and social history. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Daly,​ ​Lewis,​ ​Luiseach Nic​ ​Eoin, Katherine French, and Theresa Miller​. 2016. ​Botanical Ontologies: Integrating ontology into ethnobotanical research. Journal of Ethnobiology 36(1):1-9.

Daly, Lewis. 2016. Cassava Spirit and the Seed of History: The biocultural history of a staple crop in native Amazonia. Commodity Histories, an academic blog of the Open University. February 2016, online.

Daly, Lewis. ​2015​. ​What Kind of People are Plants?​ The challenges of researching human-plant relations in Amazonia.​ Engagement, ​blog of the Anthropology and Environment Society, American Anthropological Association (AAA). December​ 8​, 2015, online.​

Andel, ​Tinde van, Sofie Ruysschaert, Karin Boven, and Lewis Daly. 2015. ​The Use of Amerindian Charm Plants in the Guianas. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine​ ​11:66.

​Journals Edited

​'Botanical Ontologies​​​'​, special section of the Journal of Ethnobiology, 2016, 36(1). Lewis Daly, Luiseach Nic Eoin, Katherine French, and Theresa Miller (eds).

Conferences Organised

'Botanical Ontologies: A cross-disciplinary forum on human-plant relationships'. June, 2014. A two-day conference held at the Department of Philosophy, University of Oxford. Funded by a £2,500 grant from The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH). Roles: organiser, chair, discussant.


Makushi, Guyana, Amazonia, indigenous studies, multispecies, environment, ethnoecology, ethnobotany, ecosemiotics, plants, birds, conservation, cosmology, political ontology.