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. He has conducted over two years of ethnographic fieldwork with Makushi communities in southern Guyana and northern Brazil, focusing primarily on more-than-human engagements in the indigenous culture and cosmology. In particular, Lewis is interested in advancing a dedicated anthropology of plants, and has conducted research into agroecology, gardening, plant medicine, and plant use in ritual. 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 a Guest Lecturer in Ethnobiology at the Institute of Human Sciences at the University of Oxford, and in 2023, he will be a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology (SAME) at Oxford.

Lewis 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, cosmology
  • Indigenous knowledge and indigenous rights
  • Historical ecology of tropical rainforests
  • Anthropology of plants / ethnobotany / phytoethnography
  • Anthropology of birds / ethno-ornithology
  • Agriculture, food processing, and fermentation technologies
  • Multispecies ethnography in the Anthropocene
  • Sensory ecology (chemosensation, olfaction, bioacoustics)
  • The politics of conservation, ecotourism, and sustainable development


Lewis teaches across a range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules in Social and Environmental Anthropology, including:

  • ANTH0003/0004/0208: Introduction to Social Anthropology (UG) 
  • ANTH0105: Resource Use and Impacts (PG)
  • ANTH0069: Ethnography of Forest Peoples (UG / PG)
  • ANTH0106: Anthropology of Development (PG)
  • ANTH0013. Theoretical Perspectives in Material Culture and Social Anthropology (UG)
  • ANTH0015: Being Human (UG)
  • ANTH0209: Biosocial Medical Anthropology (PG)
  • ANTH0127: Critical Issues in Social Anthropology (PG)

UCL Student Choice Awards | Nominations:

  • 2017 – Outstanding Teaching
  • 2018 – Outstanding Feedback
  • 2019 – Outstanding Feedback

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-Colombian Migrants in Antofagasta, Chile (Anthropology, 2019–)
  • Sarah Fischel – Multispecies Care and Coral Restoration in Bonaire, the 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 – Revolutionary Forests: Conservation, Conflict, and Sovereignty in the Forests of Southern Myanmar (Anthropology, 2020–)
  • Sahib Singh – The Reluctant Forest: Resource Extraction, Dispossession, Resistance, and Ontological Conflicts 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–)
  • Catherine Clarke - Conservation Politics and Indigenous Rights in the Colombian Amazon: The Negotiation and Implementation of Area-Based Conservation Targets (Anthropology, 2021–)
  • Roy Ashton – How Does the Forest Speak? Tracking and Sensory Awareness among Forest-Dwelling Hunter-Gatherer Peoples (Anthropology, 2022–)

Recent Publications

Lewis has published in journals including Anthropological Forum, Anthropology Today, Medical Anthropology, Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford, Journal of Ethnobiology, Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, Botany, TopiCS and Oryx, as well as various edited volumes, academic blogs, and magazines. He is currently working on his ethnographic monograph.

Research Groups and Collaborations

  • Visiting Scholar, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford (2023)
  • Member, Human Ecology Research Group (HERG), UCL
  • Founder, TEA: The Ethnobotanical Assembly
  • The Sensory Ecology of Shamanic Plants in Indigenous Amazonia – Museu Emílio Goeldi Paraense (MPEG), Belém, Brazil
  • The Role of Local Bird Knowledge in Avian Conservation – Ethno-ornithology World Atlas (EWA), University of Oxford and BirdLife International

Editorial Work

Conference Organisation

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