Annual theme “Human after Man“

Interdisciplinary Lecture Series (WS 2018/19)


8 January 2019, 7:00 pm

Animistic Notions of the Human

Istvan Praet



Istvan Praet is a reader in anthropology at the University of Roehampton, London. His academic area of interest lies in the ethnographic and comparative study of notions of humanity and life, both in Western and non-Western settings. He was trained in social and cultural anthropology at the University of Oxford, where he obtained his doctorate in 2006. Since then he has taken up a number of research fellowships, both in the UK and abroad (Wenner-Gren Hunt Fellowship at Cambridge, several research fellowships at the Laboratoire d’Anthropologie Sociale in Paris, and a Rachel Carson Fellowship at the LMU in Munich). Praet has conducted long-term fieldwork with Chachi people in Esmeraldas, Ecuador, and has published widely on indigenous conceptions of humanity in South America and elsewhere. He is the author of Animism and the Question of Life (Routledge, 2014), in which he examines notions of humanity and life cross-culturally. In recent years Praet has been working at the interface of science and technology studies (STS) and the anthropology of science. He has developed an interest in modern scientific notions of humanity and life and how they are redefined in the context of outer space exploration (see Praet and Salazar 2017, special issue of Environmental Humanities). He is currently finalising a new book based on ethnographic research with astrobiologists, planetary scientists and artistic researchers.