Lynn Meskell | Department of History

Profile

Lynn Meskell
Lynn
Meskell
Honorary Professor
Department of History and Archaeology
School of Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS)
Shiv Nadar University
India
Profile Summary 

Lynn Meskell is Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. She is Richard D. Green Professor of Anthropology in the School of Arts and Sciences, Professor in the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at the Weitzman School of Design, and curator in the Middle East and Asia sections at the Penn Museum. Currently she serves as AD White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University (2019-2025). She holds Honorary Professorships at Oxford and Liverpool in the UK, Shiv Nadar in India and Johannesburg, South Africa. Previously Lynn was the Shirley and Leonard Ely Professor of Humanities and Sciences in the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Over the past twenty years she has been awarded grants and fellowships including those from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Australian Research Council, the American Academy in Rome, the School of American Research, Oxford University and Cambridge University. She is the founding editor of the Journal of Social Archaeology.

Over the last decade Lynn has conducted an institutional ethnography of UNESCO World Heritage, tracing the politics of governance and sovereignty and the subsequent implications for multilateral diplomacy, international conservation, and heritage rights. Employing archival and ethnographic analysis, her award-winning book A Future in Ruins: UNESCO, World Heritage, and the Dream of Peace (OUP, 2018) reveals UNESCO’s early forays into one-world archaeology and its later commitments to global heritage. Building on this research, she is currently examining the entwined histories of colonialism, internationalism, espionage and archaeology in the Middle East coupled with a new largescale survey project in Syria and Iraq to assess public opinion on heritage destruction and reconstruction. Other recent fieldwork explores monumental regimes of research and preservation around World Heritage sites in India and how diverse actors and agencies address the needs of living communities.

Educational Qualifications 
Ph.D. (Archaeology)
University of Cambridge
Bachelor of Arts
University of Sydney
Work Experience 
2020
Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor and Richard Perry University Professor in the Department of Anthropology, School of Arts and Sciences,
University of Pennsylvania
2020
Professor of Historic Preservation in the Weitzman School of Design ,
University of Pennsylvania
2020
Curator for Middle East and Asia at the Penn Museum
20192020
Shirley R. and Leonard W. Ely, Jr. Professor of Humanities and Sciences,
Stanford University
2019
A.D. White Professor-at Large,
Cornell University
20102016
Director,
Stanford Archaeology Center
20052020
Professor,
Department of Anthropology, Stanford University
2005
Professor,
Department of Anthropology, Columbia University
2004
Honorary Professor,
School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand,
Johannesburg, South Africa
20042005
Professor of Cultural and Social Anthropology (Visiting),
Stanford University
20012004
Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology,
Columbia University
19992001
Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology,
Columbia University
Teaching & Research Interests: 

Archaeological Theory, Ethnography, UNESCO World Heritage, Middle East, India, South Africa, Egypt, Identity, Politics, Embodiment, Postcolonial and Feminist theory, Ethics.

Awards(Selected): 
2021

Global Engagement Fund, Business, World Heritage and Conflict Risk: Investing for Profit, Preservation and Peace, University of Pennsylvania, (with Vit Henisz, Wharton) ($32,800)

20202024

Australian Research Council Grant, After Islamic State: Local-State-Global Heritage Dynamics in Syria and Iraq (PI Ben Isakhan and L. Meskell) (AUS $460,000)

20212022

Thomas Spencer Jerome Lecturer: The Ethics of Heritage and Archaeology in Global Perspective, American Academy in Rome, Italy and Michigan University, USA.

2021

Visiting Scholar, American Academy in Rome, Italy

2021

Perry World House Fellow (3 years), University of Pennsylvania

2020

PIK Professor and Richard Perry University Professor, University of Pennsylvania

2020

Honorary Professor, Institute of Archaeology, Oxford University, UK

2020

Honorary Professor, Archaeology Classics and Egyptology, University of Liverpool, UK

2020

International Advisory Board, Archaeology Department, University of Durham, UK.

2020

International Advisory Board, Shiv Nadar University, India

.

2019

Shirley R. and Leonard W. Ely, Jr. Professor of Humanities and Sciences, Stanford University.

2019

A.D. White Professor-at-Large, Cornell University, USA (6 years)

2019

Patty Jo Watson Distinguished Lecture, American Anthropology Association, USA

2019

Society for American Archaeology Book Award for A Future in Ruins: UNESCO, World Heritage and the Dream of Peace (OUP: New York)

2017

Elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, Australia

2017

Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (IRiSS) Faculty Fellow, Stanford, USA

2017

Honorary Doctorate, American University of Rome, Italy.

2017

Visiting Fellow, New College, Oxford University, UK

2017

Visiting Professor, Pantheon Sorbonne, Paris, France

2016

GIAN Fellow, Global Initiative of Academic Networks, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

2015

Senior Scholar in Residence, American Academy in Rome, Italy

2015

Senior Research Visitor, Keble College, Oxford University, UK

2015

Willem Willems Chair, Leiden University, Netherlands

2014

Thinker in Residence, Cultural Heritage Centre for Asia and the Pacific, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

20132016

Australian Research Council Grant for South East Asian Heritage and UNESCO (PIs T. Winter, B. Bennett, L. Meskell) (AUS $331,676)

Scholarly Activity

Book

2018

 A Future in Ruins: UNESCO, World Heritage and the Dream of Peace, Oxford University Press: New York.

  • Translated into Chinese for Yilin Press, Nanjing, 2021.
  • Winner of Society for American Archaeology Book Prize in 2019.

2015

Global Heritage: A Reader (editor) Blackwell: Oxford.

2012

The Nature of Heritage: The New South Africa, Blackwell: Oxford.

2009

Cosmopolitan Archaeologies, (editor) Duke University Press: Durham.

2005

Archaeologies of Materiality, (editor) Blackwell: Oxford.

2005

Embedding Ethics, (edited with Peter Pels) Berg: Oxford.

2004

Object Worlds in Ancient Egypt: Material Biographies Past and Present, Berg: Oxford.

2004

Companion to Social Archaeology, (edited with Bob Preucel) Blackwell: Oxford.

(Winner of Choice Magazine’s Outstanding Titles for the year).

2003

Embodied Lives: Figuring Ancient Maya and Egyptian Experience, (authored with Rosemary Joyce) Routledge: London.

2002

Private Life in New Kingdom Egypt, Princeton University Press: Princeton.

• Translated into French for Editions Autrement, Paris, in association with the Louvre Museum.

• Individual Edition published by the History Book Club in 2003.

1999

Archaeologies of Social Life: Age, Sex, Class Etcetera in Ancient Egypt, Social Archaeology Series. Blackwell: Oxford.

1998

Archaeology under Fire: Nationalism, Politics and Heritage in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, (Editor) Routledge: London

  • Translated into Greek in 2006.