Istvan Praet

Membership:  2011

Member Bio

Istvan Praet is a lecturer in anthropology at Roehampton University in London. Originally from Belgium, Praet studied anthropology in Leuven. He then moved to the UK, where he obtained a doctorate in social anthropology at Oxford University. In previous years, he worked as a visiting fellow in the Laboratoire d’Anthropologie Sociale in Paris, a research fellow at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Oxford, and a Richard Carley Hunt fellow at Cambridge. His principal areas of expertise are Latin America (Ecuador), Amerindian forms of animism, and anthropology’s relationship with the life sciences. He has conducted (and continues to conduct) ethnographic fieldwork among the Chachi, the Amerindian inhabitants of Esmeraldas, a lowland region on the Pacific coast. Key themes of his research are shamanism, ritual, the perception of catastrophes, and notions of metamorphosis. The comparison of indigenous and scientific notions of humanity and life is another central theme.
As Carson fellow, Praet worked on a project on the comparison of indigenous and scientific conceptions of disaster.
Film Interview with Istvan Praet
Website University of Roehampton, Department of Life Sciences


  • “Shamanism and Ritual in South America: An Inquiry into Amerindian Shape-Shifting.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Society 15 (2009): 737-54.
  • “Catastrophes and Wedding: Chachi Ritual as Metamorphosis.” Journal de la Société des Américanistes 95, no. 2 (2009): 71-89.
  • “People into Ghosts: Chachi Death Rituals as Shape-Shifting.” Tipiti: The Journal of the Society of Lowland South America 3, no. 2 (2005): 131-46.
  • Publications