Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Dr Alice Rudge

Key information

Department of Anthropology and Sociology Lecturer in Anthropology
Email address
Support hours
Term 1 - Tuesday 11.30am-1.30pm
Term 2 - Monday 1:00pm-3:00pm


Alice is a Lecturer in Anthropology working at the intersection of environmental anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and science and technology studies. She focuses on themes of alterity, ethics, Indigenous justice, plantation agriculture, and sustainable scientific practice to explore conflicting questions of what it means to live a good life in conditions of environmental breakdown.

Since 2014, Alice has been conducting ethnographic fieldwork with Batek people in Malaysia, where she has been interested in questions of how differences and similarities are made and transformed through people’s everyday lives as they experience ecological and social change. Her book on this topic Sensing Others: Voicing Batek Ethical Lives at the Edge of a Malaysian Rainforest is published with University of Nebraska Press (2023). Alice is now working on her second book project which focuses on the new forms of precarity generated by plantation agriculture.

Putting this ethnographic work in historical context, Alice has also conducted archival research on oil palm’s colonial histories, tracing how it was catalogued, named, and managed by officials and bureaucrats involved with Kew Gardens, and demonstrating how this has shaped today’s oil palm landscapes. She explored early colonial notions of ‘care’ for both oil palms and people, and how these linked with desires for control and colonization that were materialized through scientific and technical practices. Currently, she is interested in documenting the afterlives of these discourses in current public and scientific narratives on sustainability and environmental change.

Alice has also worked collaboratively on developing critiques of evolutionary narratives in popular culture. She has done this through exploring the figure of the ‘imagined hunter-gatherer’ and through challenging the use of evolutionary narratives in music and environment research. Currently, she is extending this resarch into exploring how the figure of the imagined hunter-gatherer is mobilised in problematic narratives about population control as a solution to the environmental crisis.

Alice has also been the recipient of an Endangered Material Knowledge Programme Grant from the British Museum for a fieldwork project that documented Batek weaving and ethnobotanical knowledge. This resulted in a co-published zine (2023) with Gerimis Art Project entitled Batek Material Culture.

Key publications


Rudge, A. 2023. Sensing Others: Voicing Batek ethical lives at the edge of a Malaysian rainforest. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Journal Articles

Yamin, T. & Rudge, A. 2023 [accepted, in press]. “Sounds like” redemption? On the musicality of species and the species of musicality. Environmental Humanities.

Lavi, N., Rudge, A., Warren, G. 2023 [accepted, in press]. Rewild your inner hunter-gatherer: How an idea about our ancestral condition is recruited into popular debate in Britain and Ireland. Current Anthropology.

Online Essays

Rudge, A. ‘Cultivating Care: How Narratives of Care were used in Colonial Experiments with Palm Oil’. China Dialogue, 3 Jan 2023.

Rudge, A. & Vaugn, S. ‘Engineering Ecology with Alice Rudge and Sarah Vaughn’. Comparative Studies in Society and History Under the Rubric, 14 Dec 2022.

Rudge, A. ‘Book review: Haiven, M. 2022. Palm oil: The grease of empire. London: Pluto Press’. New Mandala, 4 July 2022.

PhD Supervision

Name Title
Stella Dixon Unravelling the Seasons, Unravelling Japan? The impact of climate on seasons and seasonality in Tokyo


Contact Alice