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Research Interests:
Humanities, Social Sciences
Discipline: Anthropology
Pillar / Cluster: Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences


Lyle Fearnley is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at SUTD.  Trained as an anthropologist of science and medicine, Lyle received a Joint Ph.D. in Medical Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco. His book, Virulent Zones: Animal Disease and Global Health at China’s Pandemic Epicenter (Duke University Press) was Honorable Mention for the 2021 Francis L.K. Hsu Book Prize, awarded by the Society for East Asian Anthropology Section of the American Anthropological Association. In 2021, Lyle was a Finalist for the Falling Walls Science Breakthrough of the Year (Social Sciences and Humanities) based on the research discussed in Virulent Zones.

Current research projects include:

1) the politics and science of food safety in contemporary China, including GM rice controversies and the qualification of food safety in live animal “wet markets”;

2) an anthropological history of the medical face mask and the contested epistemology of airborne disease;

3) changes in the infrastructure of waste management amidst Singapore’s transition from hygienic modernity to circular economy.


Selected Publications


Journal Articles

Selected Media and Talks


  • Joint Ph.D. in Medical Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco
  • B.A. Anthropology, Columbia University