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

Twitter: @tea_assembly


Lewis Daly is a Lecturer in Social Anthropology of the Environment at UCL. He completed his 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. Lewis has conducted over two years of ethnographic fieldwork with Makushi communities in southern Guyana and northern Brazil, focusing primarily on multispecies engagements in the indigenous culture and cosmology. His research is framed by an appraisal of the impact of conservation, ecotourism, and sustainable development on Makushi lifeways and environmental practices.

Lewis has conducted postdoctoral research projects with the Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi (MPEG) in Belém, Brazil, and the Ethno-ornithology World Atlas (EWA) at the University of Oxford.

He is also the founder and co-editor of TEA: The Ethnobotanical Assembly – an open-access online journal about people-plant relationships.

Research Interests

  • Anthropology of Amazonia / lowland South America
  • Animism, perspectivism, shamanism, cosmologies
  • Indigenous knowledge and indigenous rights
  • Historical ecology of tropical rainforests
  • Multispecies ethnography in the Anthropocene
  • Anthropology of plants / ethnobotany / phytoethnography
  • Anthropology of birds / ethno-ornithology
  • Agriculture, food, and fermentation technologies
  • Sensory ecology (chemosensation, olfaction, bioacoustics)
  • The politics of conservation, ecotourism, sustainable development


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

  • ANTH0003/0004/0208: Introduction to Social Anthropology (convenor / lecturer)
  • ANTH0127: Critical Issues in Social Anthropology (PG)
  • ANTH0069: Ethnography of Forest Peoples (UG / PG)
  • ANTH0106: Anthropology of Development (PG)
  • ANTH0105: Resource Use and Impacts (PG)
  • ANTH0209: Biosocial Medical Anthropology (PG)
  • ANTH0015: Being Human (UG)

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 African-Colombians Migrants in Antofagasta, Chile (Anthropology, 2019–)
  • Sarah Fischel – Multispecies Care and Coral Restoration in Bonaire, Leeward Antilles (Geography, 2019–)
  • Juan Mejia Lopez – Reserves, Fishermen, NGOs, and Blue Crabs: The Multiple Makings of Guaimoreto Lagoon in Northern Honduras (Anthropology, 2020–)
  • Jack Jenkins-Hill – Sovereign Forests: Conservation and Expressions of Sovereignty in Tanintharyi, Myanmar (Anthropology, 2020–)
  • Sahib Singh – The Reluctant Forest: Mining, Environmentalism, Resistance, and Cultural Politics in Central India (Anthropology, 2020–)
  • Matthew French – “Drift” Kelp and Multe “Gold”: Contemporary Human Foraging amongst Edible Seaweed and Berries in Ireland and Norway (Anthropology, 2020–)
  • Sonia Dhandha – Conservation Prioritisation of Wild Orchids in International Trade (UCL Anthropology and Kew, 2020–)
  • Bo Yang – Symbiotic Species, Symbiotic Relationships: Pursuing More-than-human Liveability on the Tibetan Plateau (Anthropology, 2021–)

Research Groups / Collaborations

  • Human Ecology Research Group (HERG), UCL
  • TEA: The Ethnobotanical Assembly – an open-access online magazine about people-plant relationships
  • The ethnobotany of shamanism in Amazonia – Museu Emílio Goeldi Paraense (MPEG), Belém, Brazil
  • The role of ethno-ornithology in avian conservation – Ethno-ornithology World Atlas (EWA), University of Oxford and BirdLife International

Recent Publications

  • Shepard Jr., Glenn H. and Lewis Daly (In press). Sensory Ecologies, Plant-persons, and Multinatural Landscapes in Amazonia. Botany, Special Issue: Ethnobotany and Ethnopharmacology of the Americas.
  • Daly, Lewis (In press). “The Spirits Drink Cassava Beer”: Self-care, Self-help, and People-plant Entanglements in Northern Amazonia. Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford, Special Issue: Self-care.
  • Daly, Lewis (2021) Cassava Spirit and the Seed of History: On Garden Cosmology in Indigenous Amazonia. Anthropological Forum, Special Issue: The Art of Gardens. L. Bolton and J. Mitchell (eds.)
  • Daly, Lewis and Glenn H. Shepard Jr. (2019) Magic Darts and Messenger Molecules: Toward a Phytoethnography of Indigenous AmazoniaAnthropology Today, Special Issue: Ethnography of Plants, 35(2):13–18.
  • Daly, Lewis (2019) The Nature of Sweetness: An Indigenous Fermentation Complex in Amazonian Guyana. In K. Hockings and R. Dunbar (eds.), Alcohol and Humans: A Long and Social Affair. Pp. 130–146. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Daly, Lewis and Kay Lewis-Jones (2018) Plant Worlds: Assembling the EthnobotanicalTEA: The Ethnobotanical Assembly, Issue 1: Winter 2018 [online]
  • Daly, Lewis, Luiseach Nic Eoin, Katherine French, and Theresa Miller (2016) Integrating Ontology into Ethnobotanical ResearchJournal of Ethnobiology, Special Section: Botanical Ontologies 36(1):1–9.
  • Daly, Lewis (2015) What Kind of People are Plants? The Challenges of Researching Human-Plant Relations in AmazoniaEngagement, a blog of the Anthropology and Environment Society, American Anthropological Association (AAA). December 8, 2015 [online]

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