Barry Lyons

Barry Lyons

Associate Professor


313-577-5958 (fax)

 3025 Faculty/Administration Building

Curriculum vitae


Barry Lyons



I grew up in Massachusetts, majored in history and political science at Washington University, and lived in a village in the Ecuadorian Andes for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer. Having fallen in love with Ecuador, I pursued graduate work in anthropology at the University of Michigan and spent another three years in Ecuador conducting dissertation research. After receiving my doctorate, I taught at the University of the South (Sewanee) before joining the Wayne State Anthropology Department in 1999.

Research interest(s)/area of expertise

  • Agrarian class relations, hacienda system. Race, Ethnicity, indigenous movements, mestizaje. Religion (Catholic liberation theology, evangelical Christianity, indigenous Andean religion). Language and exchange. Climate change.


I am a sociocultural anthropologist whose research has mostly focused on agrarian class relations, ethnicity, and religion in highland Ecuador. My first book, Remembering the Hacienda (2006), examines patterns of authority and indigenous resistance on a hacienda and the hacienda system's contemporary legacy. I have also written about how indigenous people have reworked the memory of the hacienda as they create local versions of liberation theology and redefine their ethnic identity. In a later project, I studied the impact of the indigenous movement and bilingual education on mestizo Ecuadorians' understandings of race and identity. A recent book in Spanish and Kichwa, Sociedad, cultura e interculturalidad en Chimborazo, addresses a number of these issues. I have also written on connections between language and exchange theory and on professional mediation as a forum for reciprocity and redistribution.

I am currently working on a documentary film and public engagement project on evangelical creation care and climate change in the United States and the global South.


  • B.A., Summa cum laude, Washington University in St. Louis, 1980, History and Political Science
  • M.A., University of Michigan, Anthropology, 1988
  • Ph.D., University of Michigan, Anthropology, 1994

Awards and grants

  • 2011 Humanities Center Faculty Fellowship
    2009 Wayne State University Sabbatical Award (for 2009-2010)
    2009 American Philosophical Society Sabbatical Fellowship
    2009 ACLS/SSRC/NEH International and Area Studies Fellowship
    2008 Wayne State University Board of Governors Faculty Recognition Award
    2007-08 Wayne State University Humanities Center Resident Scholar
    2006 Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research
    1993 Harry F. Guggenheim Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship
    1993 Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (Woodrow Wilson Foundation)
    1989 SSRC-ACLS International Doctoral Research Fellowship
    1984-88 National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship
    1980 Todd Friedman Prize for Academic Excellence in Comparative Politics at Washington University
    1976-80 Washington University Lien Honorary Scholarship


  • 2019 Wayne State University Sabbatical Award (Fall 2019).
    2018 Wayne State University Arts & Humanities Research Support grant, “Climate Change and Evangelical Christians: Public Engagement through Film”

Selected publications

2016 Sociedad, cultura e interculturalidad en Chimborazo. Quito: Editorial Abya-Yala.
2009 “Simple People,” in Steve Striffler and Carlos de la Torre, eds., The Ecuador Reader. Durham: Duke University Press, pp.403-414.
2006 Remembering the Hacienda: Religion, Authority, and Social Change in Highland Ecuador. Austin: University of Texas Press.
2005 “Discipline and the Arts of Domination: Rituals of Respect in Chimborazo, Ecuador.” Cultural Anthropology 20(1):97-127.
2002 “‘To Act Like a Man’: Masculinity, Resistance, and Authority in the Ecuadorian Andes.” In Lessie Jo Frazier, Rosario Montoya, and Janise Hurtig, eds., Gender’s Place. Palgrave Macmillan: New York. pp.45-64.
2002 “Aurelio’s Song.” In Linda Walbridge and April Sievert, eds., Personal Encounters: A Reader in Cultural Anthropology. McGraw Hill: New York, pp.157-162.
2001 "Religion, Authority, and Identity: Intergenerational Politics, Ethnic Resurgence, and Respect in Chimborazo, Ecuador." Latin American Research Review 36(1):7-48.
1999 "'Taita Chimborazo and Mama Tungurahua': A Quichua Song, A Fieldwork Story." Anthropology and Humanism 24(1):1-14.

Currently teaching

  •  ANT 3540, Cultures and Societies of Latin America, 3 credits, Fall 2020

    ANT 3100, World Cultures, 3 credits, Fall 2020



Courses taught