Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

My research explores economic subjectivities in lowland South America, specifically how broader economic forms interweave with personhood, morality, sociality and religion in daily life.

In Venezuelan Amazonia, I looked at how the indigenous Sanema understood subject formation and ethical personhood within a complex patchworks of overlapping economies, including an oil economy, a socialist revolution, an informal gold mine, and the animist cosmos. The book emerging from this research, entitled Predatory Economies, explores a world in which laptop computers, urban bustling streets, non-indigenous invaders, state administration, quotas of petrol, and the global desire for gold all coexist in a mosaic of new economies that the Sanema integrate into existing schemas of trickery, seduction and extraction.

Expanding on my expertise on native Amazonia, my new research explores what I describe as ‘Wildcat Economics’; the intersection of formal and informal economic spheres in prospector gold mining sites in lowland Peru. Building on my research on energy and extraction, I have recently been awarded a two-year British Academy Knowledge Frontiers grant (as P-I) that explores ‘Energy Resilience’ in Brazilian Amazonia with an interdisciplinary team (anthropology, engineering, law and history) based both in the UK and Brazil. 

I received my PhD in Anthropology from the London School of Economics (LSE) in 2015. Since then I have held a postdoc at the Institute of Latin America Studies (ILAS), a teaching post at the University of Manchester and a Marie Curie fellowship at the University of Copenhagen. I joined the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology at Bristol in 2019. 

Structured keywords and research groupings

  • Cabot Institute Low Carbon Energy Research
  • Amazonia
  • Resource Extraction
  • Indigenous peoples

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Research Output

  • 6 Article (Academic Journal)
  • 3 Book/Film/Article review (Academic Journal)
  • 1 Chapter in a book

Introduction: Resource Engagements: Experiencing Extraction in Latin America.

Penfield, A. & Montoya, A., 2020, In : Bulletin of Latin American Research. 39, 2

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

Scattered Things: Virtue Ethics and Objectness in Indigenous Amazonia

Penfield, A. E., 23 Sep 2020, (Accepted/In press) In : Ethnos.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

  • Fuel of fear and force: gasoline's energetic power and its entanglement in composite ethics

    Penfield, A., 8 Apr 2019, In : Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 25, S1, p. 140-159 20 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

  • 2 Citations (Scopus)


    ESRC 1+3 Award

    Penfield, Amy E (Recipient), 2008

    Prize: Prizes, Medals, Awards and Grants

    Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

    Penfield, Amy E (Recipient), 2020

    Prize: Prizes, Medals, Awards and Grants

    Malinowski Memorial Award

    Penfield, Amy E (Recipient), 2014

    Prize: Prizes, Medals, Awards and Grants


    • 1 Participation in workshop, seminar, course

    Resource Entanglements:Disparate Narratives on Natural Resource Extraction in Latin America

    Amy E Penfield (Participant) & Ainhoa Montoya (Participant)

    20 May 2016

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course