Professor Stephen Lyon
Inaugural Dean, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Pakistan
Professor Lyon brings significant leadership and administrative experience as well as an evident passion for advancing education, research and scholarship to the inaugural Dean FAS role. Most recently, he has been the Professor of Anthropology and Head of Educational Programmes and Development at the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations at AKU in London, since 2018. In that role, he has overseen significant curricula updates to the MA in Muslim Cultures, spearheaded the launch of a suite of income generating short courses, all while stewarding ISMC's educational programmes through the unexpected uncertainties brought about by the global COVID pandemic. During this time, he also built a strong partnership with the London Metropolitan Police to help serving officers better understand the diversity and richness of Islam and Muslim cultures.
A cultural anthropologist, Professor Lyon has carried out extensive fieldwork in rural and urban areas of Pakistan for more than 20 years. He received his BSc in Anthropology from Goldsmiths' College, University of London and was granted his PhD from the University of Kent in 2002. His research examines the relationship between culture and power. Professor Lyon's ethnographic work investigates ways in which conflicts are managed, rather than resolved. Among his numerous research endeavours, he has undertaken a detailed analysis of land conflicts in rural Punjab and has examined the manipulation of personal networks in electoral politics in Pakistan, at the provincial and national levels. He has published two sole-authored books on these topics, and has published extensively on Pakistani politics, culture, and cognitive models over his career.
Amidst his extensive scholarly work, Professor Lyon has served as an academic leader in the UK and internationally. From 2002 to 2018, he was Professor of Anthropology and the Chair of the Department of Anthropology at Durham University, the largest anthropology department in the UK at the time. Professor Lyon also served as the President of the Society for Anthropological Sciences on numerous occasions. He has also held executive positions in the Royal Anthropological Institute and the European Association of Social Anthropologists.
Professor Lyon has pioneered the use of computational methods in social science research, including producing the first ethnographic blog during his 1998-1999 doctoral field research. Additionally, he has extensive editorial experience, having served as the Editor-in-Chief of History and Anthropology from 2009 to 2014, and has been the Editor-in-Chief for Social Science Computer Review since 2020. Professor Lyon is also fluent in Urdu and French.
For more than a decade, Professor Lyon has increasingly focused on the complex interaction of culture and politics in relation to natural resource management. He has worked on water conflict in rainfed and irrigated areas of Punjab and, more recently, working closely with the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat, has undertaken a British Academy funded analysis of the effectiveness of Water and Sanitation Extension Programme model of clean water delivery in Gilgit-Baltistan.