Professor Judith Okely

Judith Okely receiving the Seal of the City of Pilsen, Czech Republic, from the mayor (2011).

Judith Okely receiving the Seal of the City of Pilsen, Czech Republic, from the mayor (2011). 

Research Affiliate

(BA, MA, DPhil Oxon) Emeritus Professor of Anthropology


Research Interests

Professor Judith Okely's research interests include Gypsies/Travellers, continuing from The Traveller-Gypsies 1983. Party to a Marie Curie EU grant, she mentored anthropologists visiting Oxford with research on Roma and contributed to the Roma course at the CEU, Budapest. Other research interests include field methods. Her 2012 Anthropological Practice: fieldwork and the ethnographic method draws on dialogues with 20 anthropologists (of 16 nationalities).Her publications discuss gender, including Simone de Beauvoir: a Re-Reading, 1986, aspects of Auto-Ethnography as in Anthropology and Autobiography, (co ed with H. Callaway) 1992, and Landscapes in rural France (Ethnos 2001).


Judith Okely has held lectureships at Durham then Essex universities. She was elected Professor of Anthropology at Edinburgh then Hull. She was visiting Professor at Bristol and Brunel universities and Paul Lazarsfeld Guest Professor, University of Vienna. She has supervised 25 phds and examined 35.

Since 2008, Professor Okely has lectured in Poland, Finland, Austria, Germany, Greece, Italy, Slovenia and the Czech Republic. Some Conference presentations were in Belfast, Bristol, Norwich, Cambridge, Paris, Ottawa, Stockholm and San Francisco. She has also given Distinguished lectures at the LSE, Helsinki, Vienna, Berlin and Basel.

In 2011, she was awarded a medal by the Faculty of Philosophy, University of West Bohemia, as a ‘World Scholar’ and also received the Seal of the City of Pilsen, the Czech Republic.

Recent Publications

2019 'Untangling Gypsy ethnic identity, thanks to Barth' in Ethnic Groups and Boundaries Today: A Legacy of Fifty Years eds Thomas Hylland Erikson and Marek Jakoubek, Routledge.

2019 ‘Fieldwork Emotions: Embedded Across Cultures, Shared, Repressed or Subconscious’ in Affective Dimensions of Fieldwork and Ethnography eds T. Stodulka, S. Dinkelaker and F. Thajib, Springer Nature, Switzerland.

2017 ‘Gypsy Intermediaries Guide the Stranger: Bringing Reciprocity, some Misunderstanding, but Protection from Outsiders’ Journal of Gypsy Studies, Vol 1 no 1 pp 65-84.

2017 ‘Anthropologists Writing down and Writing up: through Fieldwork to Publication’, JJ Bachofen Lecture no 3, Institute of Anthropology, Basel University.

2016 ‘Learning from the Ludic: Anthropological Fieldwork’, in Humour, Comedy and Laughter: Obscenities, Paradoxes, Insights and the Renewal of Life Ed. L. Dina Sciama, Berghahn                       

2015 ‘Dialogues with Anthropologists: Where Interviews become Relevant ‘ in Extraordinary Encounters: Authenticity and the Interview eds K. Smith,  J. Staples and N. Rapport, Berghahn

2015  Forum Debate:  ‘Travellers’ in Social Anthropology, Vol 23 (3) August. 

2015 ‘Border Crossings: Islands, Continents, Nomads within, and Barriers of Gender, Class and Race’ in Konitsa Borders Course, Ed. Ioannis Manos, Macedonia University.

2013 FOREWORD to: Gypsies and Travellers in Housing: The decline of Nomadism by D.M. Smith and M. Greenfields, Policy Press.

2013 ‘Constructing Culture through shared location, bricolage and exchange: The case of Gypsies and Roma’ in Debating Authenticity: - Anthropological Perspectives, Eds T. Fillitz and J. Saris. Berghahn.

2012 ‘The Isle of Wight as site for English/British Identity’, in  Islands and Britishness Eds J. Matthews and D. Travers, Cambridge Scholars

2011 ‘The Dale farm eviction: Interview’ Anthropology Today Vol 27 December Issue 6 pp 24-27

2010 'Fieldwork as Free Association and Free Passage' in Ethnographic Practice in the Present, eds M. Melhuss, J. Mitchell and H. Wulff, Berghahn.

2009. 'Written Out and Written In: Inishkillane Remembered' in Irish Journal of Anthropology Vol 12 (2).

2008. 'Knowing without Notes' in co-edited Knowing how to Know, eds N. Halstead, E. Hirsch and J. Okely, Berghahn.