Home / About / People / Faculty / Lyle Fearnley



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, Fearnley received a Joint Ph.D. in Medical Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco.  His fieldwork-based research explores the assemblages of science and rural life in contemporary China, where agricultural modernization projects are giving rise to new environmental and health risks. His book project — The Influenza Epicenter: Rural China and Animal Disease in an Age of Emerging Pandemics —analyzes the encounters of global health and China’s livestock farms during the avian influenza crisis.  Currently, he is developing a new project on the contested futures of rice breeding and genetics in China.  The project analyzes the intersections of Chinese rice genome research, food safety movements, and the human-environment configurations of wet-rice paddy agriculture.

Selected Publication


  • Science, Reason, Modernity: Readings for an Anthropology of the Contemporary. Edited with Anthony Stavrianakis and Gaymon Bennett (New York: Fordham University Press, forthcoming May 2015).

Peer Reviewed Articles

  • “Wild Goose Chase: The Displacement of Influenza Research in the Fields of Poyang Lake, China.” Cultural Anthropology 30(1), February 2015.
  • “Epidemic Intelligence: Langmuir and the Birth of Disease Surveillance.”
    Behemoth 3, January 2010: 37-56.
  • “Signals Come and Go: Syndromic Surveillance and Styles of Biosecurity.”
    Environment and Planning A 40(7), 2008: 1615-1632.

Book Chapters

  • “Redesigning Syndromic Surveillance for Biosecurity.” In Stephen J. Collier and Andrew Lakoff, eds., Biosecurity Interventions: Global Health and Security in Question (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008).

Other Articles

  • “The Disease that Emerged: Ebola and the Global Inequalities of Preparedness.”
    Limn 5, Ebola’s Ecologies, January 2015.
  • “The Birds of Poyang Lake.” Limn 3, May 2013: 32-35.
  • “Pathogens and the Strategy of Preparedness” ARC Working Paper, No. 3, 2005. Published online at: www.anthropos-lab.net
  • “From Chaos to Controlled Disorder: Syndromic Surveillance, Bioweapons, and the Pathological Future” ARC Working Paper, No. 5, 2005. Published online at: www.anthropos-lab.net


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