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 University and Liverpool University in the UK, Shiv Nadar in India and the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.
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 a 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 project on the heritage security nexus at NATO. Her other 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.
Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities