Paul Lyons


My primary interests are in U.S. literatures, literary and cultural theory, literatures of the Pacific region, creative writing (fiction).   In my teaching I try to convey appreciation for the arts (and acts) of reading imaginative literature, seen as a rewarding aesthetic/ethical practice.   My current research includes  monographs on influences and affinities between African American and Pacific literatures; collaborative relations and friendship among kānaka maoli and settlers; and articles on Herman Melville and the contemporary concerns with globalism, world literature, and comparative racialism.   Publications include a monograph, American Pacificism: Oceania in the U.S. Imagination (Routledge 2006), articles in journals such as American Literature, American Literary History, Studies in American Fiction, Arizona Quarterly, Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies, Boundary 2, Philosophy East & West, Anglistica, and chapters in edited collections, such as South to a New Place: Region, Literature, Culture; Native Authenticity: Transnational Perspectives on Native American Literary Studies; and Beyond the Borders: American Literature and Post-Colonial Theory.   Several of these articles/chapters can be found on Scholar Space.   Recent and forthcoming Publications: Co-editor with Ty P. Kāwika Tengan, Pacific Currents. Special Issue of American Quarterly 67. 3 (September 2015). Includes, “Introduction: Pacific Currents” (with Tengan): 545-573; “The Cofa Complex: An Interview with Joakim “Jojo” Peter” (with Tengan), 663-679. “Epeli Hau‘ofa’s Pronouns,” Oceans and Ecologies, ed. Hsinya Huang (Taiwan National University Press, 2016). “Lunchtime at the Bishop Museum: Notes on Working Friendships among Natives and Non-Natives and Imperial Anglo-Americanism in Territorial Hawai‘i (1900-1959), in Anglo-American Imperialism and the Pacific, ed. Michelle Keown, Andrew Taylor, Mandy Treagus (Routledge, forthcoming 2016). "Herman Melville and the Harborless Immensities of World Literature" in Companion to World Literature (Blackwwell 2018).   Recent Book Reviews: “Hope at Sea,” review of Teresa Shewry, Contemporary Pacific (2016) “The Black Pacific Narrative,” review of Etsuko Taketani, American Literary History (2016) “The Black Pacific,” review of Robbie Shilliam, Contemporary Pacific (2016)   Recent Papers: “Africana Calls, Pasifika Responses: Russell Soaba’s Wanpis and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man” (Oceanic Modernities Conference, Suva, Fiji, 2016) “Race” Against Whiteness (on Herman Melville and comparative racialization), Melville Society Panel, (Vancouver, MLA 2015). Panel Organizer and moderator for “Pacific Currents” (Toronto, ASA 2015).  

Areas of Interest

U.S. literatures, literary and cultural theory, literatures of the Pacific region, creative writing


College of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature Excellence in Teaching Award (1996) Board of Regents' Award for Excellence in Teaching (2004)


B.A. Hobart College M.A. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Ph.D. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill