Henrietta L. Moore

is the William Wyse Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge.

Henrietta L. Moore.

Hay Festival 2014: The Future of Civic Activism

Join Henrietta Moore @ the Hay Festival 2014 for a talk about changes in ‘politics from below’ and whether there is something genuinely new in kind about the way in which civil society is now operating More »


Research Project: The Marakwet Research Station

A unique research centre has emerged out of the long term research conducted in the Kerio Valley by Henrietta Moore. Collaborative research between Henrietta Moore and Matthew Davies, in close association with the Marakwet community of northwest Kenya, has established this community run centre. More »


British Academy International Partnerships and Mobility Award, 2013-2015

The award (held together with Prof Folorunso) brings together a range of archaeologists, anthropologists and environmental scientists working on interdisciplinary understandings of intensive agricultural practices in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria. More »


Protest politics and the ethical imagination

Protest, like marriage, means re-imagining relations to self and other. The Taksim Square Book Club used reflection as a riposte to state brutality. The ethical imagination is at the root of this. More »


Evil: what’s in a word?

What does it take to get someone to go into a shopping mall with an AK47 and mow down random strangers? A failure of those acts of imagination that connect us to people we have never known. More »

coming of age

BBC World Service podcast: The Why Factor

Why do different cultures mark 'coming of age'? Why is there so much variety between cultures? For some the advent of adulthood is celebrated by lavish parties, for others, by endurance tests and initiation ceremonies. Henrietta L. Moore gives her opinion for the BBC World Service programme The Why Factor with Mike Williams. More »


Talking Anthropology

In this interview, Henrietta L. Moore talks about the meaning of the 2012 European Association of Social Anthropologists-conference theme “Uncertainty and Disquiet”, the tradition of the discipline in the UK and anthropology´s contemporary challenges. More »

From Writing

Forms of Knowing and Un-knowing

secrecy cover

The discipline of anthropology has a long history of fascination with secrecy and secret knowledge. What has been given less attention is the manner in which the idea of secrets dominates the imaginative construction of the domain of anthropology itself and acts as the evident, but nonetheless concealed, centre around which the desire of the anthropologist circulates. In this book chapter Henrietta L. Moore discusses the ways in which secrecy and silence have defined her research in an African community over the last 25 years.

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From Audio+Video

Encountering Others: Henrietta L. Moore at TEDxOxbridge


You can’t get by in the world without meeting other people. But, humans have a fatal fascination with difference, which might explain why they find it hard to share. Watch the video of Henrietta Moore’s talk ‘Encountering Others’ in which she discusses the role of the ethical imagination in the development of our relationships with others, and the development of ourselves. The talk was part of the “Connecting Through Time” session at TEDxOxbridge 2013.

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From Writing

The Social Life of Achievement


What happens when people “achieve”? Why do reactions to “achievement” vary so profoundly? And how might an anthropological study of achievement and its consequences allow us to develop a more nuanced model of the motivated agency that operates in the social world? These questions lie at the heart of this volume. Drawing on research from Southeast Asia, Europe, the United States, and Latin America, this collection develops an innovative framework for explaining achievement’s multiple effects – one which brings together cutting-edge theoretical insights into politics, psychology, ethics, materiality, aurality, embodiment, affect and narrative.

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From Writing

Epistemology and Ethics

This article discusses the recent conversion to radical Protestant beliefs in a community in northern Kenya that has resulted in new forms of knowledge and agency. The moral continuities and discontinuities between researcher and researched cannot in this situation be glossed by making the informants rational in context or by asserting the existence of culturally distinct worldviews.

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From Writing

Still Life: Hopes, Desires and Satisfactions

Ranging from African initiation rituals to Japanese anime, and from sex in virtual worlds to Schubert songs, Henrietta Moore focuses on how best we might approach the relationship between critical thought and politics, as well as the dynamics of intimacy and meaning in contemporary cultural and social life. Still Life explores how the ideas of social analysts and ordinary people intertwine and diverge, and argues for an ethics of engagement based on an understanding of the human need to engage with cultural problems and seek social change.

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From Events

Tomorrow’s Fantasies

Prophets of the future are being ostracised from the canon. Is this reluctuance to accept speculation in the arts a symptom of decline, as we no longer wish to imagine new possibilities for culture and our lives? Or is fantasising about the future a childish past-time which avoids real engagement with human nature? On 5 June Henrietta L. Moore, fantastical novelists Nick Harkaway and Justina Robson imagined a brave new world at this year’s philosophy and music festival at Hay on Wye

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