LAURIE DENYER WILLIS
I am a Lecturer in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh. My work is multimodal, concerned with the relationships between the sensory life of bodies, suburbanism, and human-animal-capital relations. Get in touch at
This work is part of a collaborative project with anthropologists in Kampala, Uganda and Bangkok, Thailand, through the project Antimicrobials In Society (AMIS) at LSHTM. In the suburbs of Kampala, chicken farming is being transformed through the logics of stacking and scalability. These practices are then interwoven with new commercial agrarian families in the suburbs, and their concerns about zoonotic disease, climate sustainability, economic futures, and the life and death of animals, microbes, plants and humans on their suburban lands. Our work attends to the logics of consumption and protein in the context of flexible industrialism in the post-colony, with an emphasis on how bodies - and what they consume - are racialised and made political through the policing of enmeshed life. We approach bodies, their consumables, and their environments as interstiched; bodies sieve foods and microbes, as much as they sieve postcolonial environments premised in surveillance and captivity.
The Salvific Sensorium
My first book project, The Salvific Sensorium: Pentecostal Life in Rio de Janeiro’s Subúrbios, is based on long term ethnographic research. The manuscript has been selected by the University of California Press as part of the series Atelier: Ethnographic Inquiry in the Twenty-First Century.
In the manuscript I attend to the entanglements of bodies, pollutants and suburban infrastructures, tracing how Pentecostalism, race, and the senses matter in the construction of new kinds of affective space. In doing so, I work through feminist affect theory to develop a theory of power that foregrounds the senses, feeling, and emotion to break apart entrenched public-private binaries in analyses of religious communities and right-wing populism in the city.
Denyer Willis, Laurie. The File Story: A Multimodal Experiment in Sensory Ethnographic Writing on Sexual Violence. ‘Con-text-ure: Visual and New Media Review Series’, Cultural Anthropology. (OPEN ACCESS)
Denyer Willis, Laurie and Clare Chandler. Quick fix for care, productivity, hygiene and inequality: Reframing the entrenched problem of antibiotic overuse. The BMJ (Global Health), 4(4). (OPEN ACCESS)
Dixon J, MacPherson E, Manyau S, Nayiga S, Khine Zaw Y, Kayendeke M, Nabirye C, Denyer Willis L, de Lima Hutchison C, Chandler CIR. The ‘Drug Bag’ method: Lessons from anthropological studies of antibiotic use in Africa and South-East Asia. Global Health Action, 12(1).