Department of Anthropology

photo of Karis Jade Petty

Dr Karis Jade Petty

Post:Lecturer in Anthropology and International Development (Anthropology)
Other posts:Associate Tutor (Anthropology)
 Teaching Fellow in Anthropology and (Centre for Global Health Policy)
Location:ARTS C C148

Telephone numbers
UK:01273 872552
International:+44 1273 872552

Research expertise:
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Karis Jade Petty received her PhD (Oct. 2017) in Anthropology at the University of Sussex and now lectures in Anthropology and International Development in the Global Studies School. 

Her current research interests include: phenomenology, perception, disability (particularly visual impairment), sensorial experience, landscape, human-interspecies connection, walking, memory, time, intercorporeality, place, and wellbeing. Karis has a keen interest in developing sensorial research methodologies and teaches three ethnographic methods modules (undergraduate and postgraduate). 

Karis has conducted extensive research into the perception of the South Downs landscape for walkers who have impaired vision. She endeavours to make this work widely available to various audiences through platforms including the Woodland Trust, South Downs National Park Authority, Walking for Health, and British Blind Sport. 

Karis has an Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy and has received Student-Led Teaching Awards for Outstanding or Innovative Undergraduate Teaching in both 2016-17 and 2017-2018. In 2018-2019, she was nominated for the Sussex Spirit award, for teaching that encompasses the five core values of kindness, integrity, inclusion, collaboration and courage. She is passionate about developing inclusive and experiential student-led pedagogies. Karis is a member of the University of Sussex ‘Inclusive Teaching and Mental Health’ cross-disciplinary working group.

You can connect with Karis via twitter here and Academia Eu here. For more information about Karis's research please see her personal website:


Previous roles

Facilitator for the Participatory Assessment of Kindness and Disability at the University of Sussex (2017).

Secretary for the Evaluation of Research in the Social Sciences in Norway with Research Council of Norway (2017-2018).



'In touch and feeling through: the emergence of the landscape among walkers with impaired vision', for the American Anthropological Association (Panel: Sport, Movement and the Senses), Vancouver Convention Center, Canada, 20-24 November 2019.

'Nature, presence and belonging', wellbeing practice-based workshop for postgraduates of the University of Sussex's School of Global Studies and the Institute of Development Studies, 16th July 2019, at the University of Sussex.

'Re-approaching sensory anthropology: perception, the environment and vision impairment', for the University of Sussex Anthropology Research Seminar Series, 26 November 2018.

‘Sensing the landscape: Recreational walking in the South Downs National Park for people who have impaired vision’ at the South Downs Research Conference, Sussex, England, 6th July 2017. 

‘Cultivating the ecological self through sensory engagement with nature’, at the ‘Emerging Paradigms in Wellbeing Research: Nature, Mindfulness and Spirituality’ symposium, 27 June 2017, University of Sussex, England. 

‘Reappraising the visual with respect to an ethnography of people who have impaired vision’, invited presentation on the ‘Visual world of difference’ panel at the Royal Anthropological Institute Film Festival, 29 March – 1 April 2017, Bristol, England.

'Perception, the environment and the uncanny: Sensing the woodlands with a psychic medium who has impaired vision', paper presentation at 'Wonder and the Natural World' conference, June 20 – 23 2016, at Indiana University Bloomington, USA.

‘A world within reach: a sensorial anthropology of unseen landscapes and the experience of impaired vision’, presentation and workshop, at ‘Language, Landscape and the Sublime’ symposium and creative gathering, June 29-30 2016, at Dartington Hall & Sharpham House, Devon, England.

"Blind people need to teach sighted people how to listen": ethnography through the body in an anthropology of sensory perception. Paper presentation at European Association of Social Anthropologists 14th EASA Biennial Conference, 'Anthropological legacies and human futures', 20-23 July 2016, Milan, Italy. Part of the panel 'Doing ethnography through the body', convened by Lorenzo Ferrarini (University of Manchester) and Nicola Scaldaferri (University of Milano).

Co-organised ‘Uncanny Landscapes’ panel at ‘Wild or Domesticated‘ interdisciplinary conference, 20-22 September 2016, at The House of Science and Letters, Helsinki, Finland. Presented paper titled: 'Perception, the environment and the uncanny: Sensing the woodlands with a psychic medium who has impaired vision'.



Mitchell, J., and Petty, K.J. 2020 [Forthcoming]. 'Uncanny Landscapes: An Introduction, in Journal of Material Religion.

Petty, K.J. 2020 [Forthcoming]. 'The Visual, the Invisible and Blindness: The Uncanny in Self-landscape Relations', in Journal of Material Religion.

Bell SL. and Petty KJ. (2018) Supporting people with sight impairment to participate in group walks. A guide produced by the University of Exeter and University of Sussex. You can read this here.

Petty, K.J. 2017. ‘How do people with impaired vision experience the South Downs?’, for the South Downs National Park Authority. You can read this here.

Petty, K. J. 2017. Walking with impaired vision: an anthropology of senses, skill and the environment. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

Petty, K.J. 2016. ‘Unearthing the senses in our experience of woodlands’, for the Woodland Trust. You can read this here.

Petty, K. 2015. 'Walking through the woodlands: Learning to listen with companions who have impaired vision', in Bull, M. and Back, L.,  The Auditory Culture Reader. Bloomsbury.


Community and Business

Member of the American Anthropological Association.

Member of the European Association of Social Anthropologists.


PhD Anthropology, University of Sussex (2011 -2017)
Thesis title:  Perception, nature and skill - The experience of being in the countryside for walkers who have impaired vision.
Topics of specialisation include: perception, senses, the body, nature, environment, walking, attention, enskillment, human-interspecies connection and a ‘more-than-human’ anthropology.
Key skills: ethnographic research methods, critical evaluation, analysis and assessment, project management.

·   Apprenticeship Inclusive Arts Facilitator, Carousel, Brighton (Jan. – Dec. 2013)
Training in workshop leadership, inclusive and empowering facilitation methodologies, volunteers management, and participant-led methodologies. 

·   Anthropology BA, First Class Honors, University of Sussex (Sept. 2006 – July 2009)
This involved two ethnographic fieldwork projects: motivations for volunteers in the charity sector and sensory perception of the environment for people who have disabilities.