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Dr Paolo Heywood

Dr Paolo Heywood

Research Associate on Situating Free Speech

Research Fellow, Homerton College


My research began in Italy, where I did my doctoral fieldwork on queer activism in the city of Bologna. There my work focussed on the question of solidarity, and how people who rejected fixed identities of various forms could yet be brought together by this very rejection as political collectives. I was awarded my PhD in 2015. A number of publications have resulted from this work, including an article in the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute on the nature of the field-site in anthropology, one in HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, on dialogues between queer and Catholic activists, and another in Anthropological Theory, on the notion of freedom and its relation to rules. I am also currently preparing a book based on my dissertation.

In addition to my doctoral research I have also contributed to debates in anthropology around a so-called ‘ontological turn’ in the social sciences. A 2012 essay on the subject won the Emrys Peters Prize, and was published in The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology as ‘Anthropology and what there is: reflections on ‘ontology’. A subsequent article on the same subject, co-authored with James Laidlaw, (“One more turn and you’re there”) was published in Anthropology of this Century. 

I currently supervise SAN1, SAN4, SAN5, SAN6, Part IIb dissertations, the MPhil course, and lecture on SAN5 and SAN7a.

I am also the Reviews Editor for The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology, and a Research Associate at Sidney Sussex College.

Research Interests

Italy, Europe, the anthropology of ethics, gender and sexuality, identity and difference, activism, Catholicism, philosophy and anthropology.

Research Supervision

Sophia Hornbacher-Schönleber

Key Publications

2017. "Comment on Ashley Lebner’s ‘Interpreting Strathern’s unconscious critique of ontology’ ” Social Anthropology, 25

2015. Equivocal locations: being ‘red’ in ‘Red Bologna’. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 21: 1-17.

2015. Agreeing to disagree: LGBTQ activism and the Church in Italy. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 5: 59-78.

2015. Freedom in the code: the anthropology of (double) morality. Anthropological Theory 15: 200-217.

2014. Neoliberal nation? Mobbing and morality in northern Italy. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 20: 151-153.

2013. One more turn and you’re there. Anthropology of this Century 7. With James Laidlaw.

2012. Anthropology and what there is: reflections on ‘ontology’. The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology 30: 143-151.

2009. The two burials of Aldo Moro: sovereignty and governmentality in the anni di piombo. Cambridge Anthropology 29: 1-29.

2009. Topographies of love: two discourses on the Russian mail-order bride industry. Cambridge Anthropology 29: 26-45.

2009. Conference review: the topography of happiness. Cambridge Anthropology 29: 104-107.

2009. Internet-svakha. In Topografiya Schast’ya: Russkaya Svad’ba (ed.) Olga Sosnina. Tsaritsino Museum: Moscow.