A message from Anthropology's outgoing Head of Department, Professor Stephen Lyon


I will take up a new job as Professor of Anthropology and Head of Educational Programmes at the Aga Khan University’s Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations on 1 September 2018, exactly 16 years to the day that I joined Durham University as a lecturer in Anthropology.

This is not unusual in academia—the higher education sector makes it possible for people to flow through institutions throughout their careers. As we do this, we influence and are in turn, influenced by the institutions in which we exist.

Like Durham alumni, I will forever be marked by my time in Durham. The kinds of intellectual questions I ask, and the theoretical and methodological approaches I adopt to address those questions now bear the indelible stamp of Durham Anthropology. I like to think that over the 16 years I’ve devoted to research and teaching at Durham, that I’ve played a significant role in shaping Durham Anthropology as well.

As graduates of Durham Anthropology, I am sure that you will understand my conflicting emotions as I prepare to leave. We all move on to new challenges and opportunities eventually, but that doesn’t mean we don’t miss the comfortable patterns and relationships we’ve built up over time.

During my time as the Head of Anthropology, I have been part of ensuring the Department progress towards its 10 year Vision to grow its academic and student numbers, consolidate its research priorities to demonstrate world class excellence, expand our lab facilities and continue to deliver excellent teaching making use of the best of 21st century tech.

I know that when someone says they’re proud it can sound garish and arrogant in many cultures, but please indulge me when I say that I am immensely proud to have been part of the Anthropology Department at Durham University and I look forward to my connection to Durham and its people continuing long after my employment here ends!


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