With specializations in race and the African diaspora in Mexico and Latin America, Professor Lewis is the author of numerous articles and two books – an anthropological history and an ethnographic monograph. She also researches Latinx identities in the urban United States. With colleagues in Environment and Geography at the University Southampton, Professor Lewis has also been a Co-Investigator on two collaborative projects on climate change, policy and water and food security in sub-Saharan Africa.
Professor Lewis has conducted long-term ethnographic fieldwork in rural Mexico, where she has also done extensive research in national and local archives. She has also done ethnographic fieldwork in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in the urban United States, and in rural Malawi in Southeastern Africa.
For her research in Mexico, she has held Fellowships from the Research Institute for the Study of Man, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the Organization of American States, the American Bar Foundation, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Smithsonian Institution. She has also had a residency in Bellagio, Italy, at the Rockefeller Foundation's Center there and been a Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of Latin American Studies at the School of Advanced Studies, University of London.
Her first book, Hall of Mirrors: Power, Witchcraft and Caste in Colonial Mexico, won the American Society for Ethnohistory’s Erminie Wheeler-Voeglin Best Book Award in 2003. Both Hall of Mirrors and her second book, Chocolate and Corn Flour, History, Race and Place in the Making of 'Black' Mexico, are available here.
Her collaborative work on Africa with African partner Universities and international organizations was supported by a £5 million four-year Research Councils UK Global Challenges Research Fund Challenges grant on Building Research Capacity for Sustainable Water and Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa (BRECcIA https://www.gcrf-breccia.com/) for work in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi, and a one year £150k Clusters grant, also from the RCUK GCRF, for Bridging National Strategy on Sustainable Development of Water-Energy-Food Systems to Local Scale Needs in Malawi.
- Ermine Wheeler-Voegelin Best Book Award, American Society for Ethnohistory (2004)
- Fellowship (2002)
- Fellowship (2007)
- Senior Fellowship in Anthropology and Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (2004)
- Summer Stipend (2002)
- Residency (2008)