Biocultural Diversity Programme
Jerome Lewis lectures in Social Anthropology at University College London. He has undergraduate and doctoral degrees in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics and 20 years research experience working with Pygmy hunter-gatherers and former hunter-gatherers in the Congo Basin. Work in Rwanda with Twa Pygmies in 1993 just before the genocide lead to later work on the impact of the genocide on this marginalised group. Since 1994 he has worked with Mbendjele Pygmies in Congo-Brazzaville researching cultural transmission; play and religion; egalitarian politics and gender relations; language and music; and Indigenous rights. His co-edited book ‘The Social Origins of Language’, was published by Oxford University Press in 2014. Studying the impact of global forces on many Pygmy groups across the Congo Basin has led to research into discrimination, economic and legal marginalisation, human rights abuses, and to applied research supporting conservation efforts by forest people and the implementation of international legal standards such as free, prior and informed consent in their dealings with outsiders. As a director of the Extreme Citizen Science Research Group he oversees the development of appropriate technologies for semi and non-literate people to improve land and resource management and to seek environmental justice.