Paul B. Lyons, a professor of English who taught at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa for 27 years, died on April 1, 2018. A recipient of the UH Regents Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2004, Lyons stood out as one of the English department’s most respected and beloved teachers, mentors and scholars.
Lyons joined the UH Mānoa English department in 1991, after earning his BA from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York, his MA from the University of Michigan and a PhD from the University of North Carolina.
Hired as a scholar of 19th century American literature, he was also an accomplished creative writer, having already published his first two novels, Table Legs in 1988 and Going for Broke in 1991. Button Man, a third novel, was published in 2004.
Over the course of his career, Lyons’ developed a profound commitment to Hawaiʻi and the Pacific, which was increasingly reflected in his scholarship. His many published essays include studies of local writers such as John Dominis Holt, Gary Pak, Wayne Kaumualiʻi Westlake and Richard Hamasaki, as well as classic American literary figures. Much of his published work concerns theoretical, methodological and pedagogical issues in the study and teaching of the literature of the Pacific region, from Melville’s Pacific travel narratives to Epeli Hauʻofa’s meditations on Oceania as “our sea of islands.”
Among Lyons’ most significant contributions to American literary and Pacific Island studies are his 2006 book, American Pacificism: Oceania in the U.S. Imagination and “Pacific Currents,” the first special issue of American Quarterly to come out of its new editorial home at UH Mānoa, which he co-edited with Ty Kāwika Tengan, an associate professor of anthropology and ethnic studies at UH Mānoa. “Pacific Currents” won the 2016 Council of Editors of Learned Journals Award for Best Special Issue.
Speaking on their collaborative work together, Tengan remarks, “Paul channeled the powerful intellectual and ethical currents of Oceania that carry the connective mana and knowledge of Native Pacific peoples, places and pasts into the future and out across disciplinary boundaries.”
Read more about Professor Paul Lyons on the College of Languages, Linguistics and Literature website.
Paul Lyons endowed scholarship
The family of Paul Lyons has set up an endowed scholarship to honor his work and to benefit masters candidates researching literatures and languages of the Pacific Ocean region at UH Mānoa.
All contributions to this fund are welcome and tax deductible. Donors will receive a letter acknowledging their gift from the UH Foundation. Go the UH Foundation website to make a gift.