I am an anthropologist and lawyer (MA, U. Pennsylvania; JD, Georgetown U. 1989; Ph.D., U. Virginia 2003), specializing in historical archaeology, diaspora studies, and legal anthropology as a Professor of Anthropology. I also teach courses as a Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. My empirical research addresses subjects in trans-Atlantic historical archaeology and the dynamics of social group affiliations and lifeways among Europeans, Africans, and various social groups within the Americas. These research initiatives include interpretative frameworks focusing on social group identities, ethnic group dynamics and racialization, diaspora studies, regional systems and commodity chains, stylistic and symbolic elements of material culture, consumption patterns, and analysis of craft and industrial enterprises.
In addition to teaching courses in anthropology and archaeology, my faculty work includes: affiliate faculty member of the Department of Landscape Architecture, offering courses on landscape analysis and surveying techniques; member of the College of Law faculty, offering interdisciplinary seminars for graduate and law students; faculty affiliate of the Center for African Studies, the Lemann Institute for Brazilian Studies, the Unit for Criticism and Interpretative Theory, and the Department of African American Studies, offering courses addressing African diaspora subjects and issues of racialization. Publications, including recent books, research papers, and works in progress, are listed in my resume.
I have been privileged to work with a number of talented graduate and doctoral advisees, including George Calfas (Ph.D. 2013, RPA), Kathryn Fay (Ph.D. 2016, RPA), Jamie Arjona (MA, RPA, NSF Graduate Fellowship recipient), Tatiana Niculescu (MA, RPA), Zev Cossin (MA, NSF Graduate Fellowship recipient), Shawn Fields (Graduate College Fellowship recipient), Rebecca Schumann (MA, Intersect and Keller Fellowships Recipient), Kathrina Aben (MAA, Women in Archaeology Scholarship recipient), Kevin Cupka Head (MA, RPA), Emma Verstraete (BA with Honors, MA, RPA), and Adam Sutherland (MA, RPA), and to serve as a committee member for others.
I am the founding editor of the Journal of African Diaspora Archaeology and Heritage, publisher and past editor of the African Diaspora Archaeology Newsletter, a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Historical Archaeology, and president of the Illinois Archaeological Survey. I received the 2009 John L. Cotter Award by the Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA) for scholarly "achievement which is truly outstanding," the 2010 Gustave O. Arlt Award in the Humanities by the Council for Graduate Schools for "outstanding contribution to scholarship," a University Scholar award (2014-2017), and the 2020 Daniel G. Roberts Award for Excellence in Public Historical Archaeology from the SHA for "commitment to public scholarship" and "anti-racism scholarship and education in historical archaeology."
I have also collaborated on multi-year research projects concerning: African-American craft innovations and industrial-scale production activities in the Edgefield Pottery District in South Carolina; cultural landscapes and intersections of tradition and modernity in west Ireland; and the social history of New Philadelphia, Illinois, a demographically integrated town founded by a free African American in 1836. Please follow the links below for information on these projects, an award-winning internet archive focusing on the history and archaeology of the Plymouth Colony, resources I've created for the African Diaspora Archaeology Network, and course materials.
"Introduction: Navigating Intersections in African Diaspora Archaeology," in "Challenging Theories of Racism, Diaspora, and Agency in African America," edited by W. A. White III and C. C. Fennell, thematic issue, Historical Archaeology 51(1): 1-148 (2017).|
"Reflections on Dynamic African-American Cultures and Communities in the Upper Mid-Atlantic," chapter in Archaeologies of African American Life in the Upper Mid-Atlantic, edited by Michael J. Gall and Richard F. Veit, pp. 185-197, University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa (2017).
"Architecture and Landscape Art" (with S. Fields and R. Schumann), in Routledge History of the American South, edited by M. Morehouse, pp. 164-176, Routledge, New York (2017).
"Innovation, Industry, and African-American Heritage in Edgefield, South Carolina," article in "The Stoneware Pottery Communities and Heritage of Edgefield, South Carolina," thematic issue edited by C. Fennell, Journal of African Diaspora Archaeology and Heritage 6(2): 55-77 (2017).
Broken Chains and Subverted Plans: Ethnicity, Race, and Commodities. University Press of Florida (2017). "Time and again those targeted for expropriation have foiled the large-scale plans of social elites. Grand plans are oft subverted."
"Manufacturing Relationships in Industry, Craft, and Heritage," introduction chapter in Perspectives from Historical Archaeology: Investigations of Craft and Industrial Enterprise, compiled textbook by C. Fennell, pp. 9-30. Society for Historical Archaeology (2016) (pdf of volume table of contents, abstracts, and contributors).
"Fighting Despair: Challenges of a Comparative, Global Framework for Slavery Studies," invited chapter in The Archaeology of Slavery: A Comparative Approach to Captivity and Coercion, edited by Lydia Wilson Marshall, pp. 391-399, peer reviewed publication of Center for Archaeological Investigations, Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, Illinois (2015).
"Cultural Creativity, Rebellions, and Comparative Questions for Afro-Brazilian Archaeology," invited chapter in Current Perspectives on the Archaeology of African Slavery in Latin America, edited by Pedro Paulo A. Funari and Charles E. Orser, Jr., pp. 99-116, peer reviewed publication of Springer Press, New York (2015).
"Artifacts to Invoke, Direct, and Deflect," 48(3): 196-200, in "Manifestations of Magic: The Archaeology and Material Culture of Folk Religion," guest edited by Christopher Fennell and M. Chris Manning, special thematic issue in Historical Archaeology 48(3): 1-200 (2014). This collection of articles is dedicated to the career of Ralph Merrifield.
"Dexterous Creation: Material Manifestations of Instrumental Symbolism in the Americas," an invited chapter in Materialities of Ritual in the Black Atlantic, edited by Akinwumi Ogundiran and Paula Saunders, pp. 216-235, a peer-reviewed publication of Indiana University Press (2014).
"Kongo and the Archaeology of Early African America," in Kongo Across the Waters, edited by Susan Cooksey, Robin Poynor, and Hein Vanhee, peer reviewed publication by University of Florida Press, pp. 229-237 (2013) (pdf).
Journal of African Diaspora Archaeology and Heritage, founding editor of this peer review journal published by Taylor & Francis Press.
"Paradoxes in Designs for a National Historic Landmark's Presentation," Museums & Social Issues 7(2): 323-40 (2012) (with Kathryn O. Fay) (pdf).
"Literate Inversions and Cultural Metaphors in Edgefield Stoneware," Historical Archaeology 45(2): 156-162 (2011) (pdf).
"Carved, Inscribed, and Resurgent: Cultural and Natural Terrains as Analytic Challenges," introduction chapter in Perspectives from Historical Archaeology: Revealing Landscapes, compiled textbook by C. Fennell. Society for Historical Archaeology (2011) (pdf of chapter excerpt and volume table of contents and contributors).
"Early African America: Archaeological Studies of Significance and Diversity," an invited synthesis and review article for Journal of Archaeological Research 19(1): 1-49 (2011) (pdf).
"Archaeological Investigations and LiDAR Aerial Survey in Edgefield, South Carolina," African Diaspora Archaeology Newsletter (Dec. 2010) (pdf).
"Damaging Detours: Routes, Racism and New Philadelphia," in New Philadelphia: Racism, Community, and the Illinois Frontier, a specially edited thematic issue, Historical Archaeology 44(1): 138-154 (2010) (pdf).
"Combating Attempts of Elision: African American Accomplishments at New Philadelphia, Illinois," invited chapter in Intangible Heritage Embodied, edited by D. Fairchild Ruggles and Helaine Silverman, peer reviewed publication by Springer Press, pp. 147-168 (2009) (pdf of chapter excerpt and volume table of contents and contributors).
"African Diaspora Archaeology in Multiscalar and Multivariate Perspectives," introduction chapter in Perspectives from Historical Archaeology: African Diaspora Archaeology, compiled textbook by C. Fennell. Society for Historical Archaeology (2008) (.pdf of chapter excerpt and volume table of contents and contributors).
Crossroads and Cosmologies: Diasporas and Ethnogenesis in the New World, with a foreword by Robert Farris Thompson. University Press of Florida (2007).
"BaKongo Identity and Symbolic Expression in the Americas," an invited chapter in The Archaeology of Atlantic Africa and the African Diaspora, edited by Toyin Falola and Akin Ogundiran, pp. 210-50, Indiana University Press (2007).
"Fear and Greed in Tax Policy: A Qualitative Research Agenda," with Lee A. Fennell, Washington University Journal of Law and Policy 13: 75-138 (2003) (pdf).
"Group Identity, Individual Creativity and Symbolic Generation in a BaKongo Diaspora," International Journal of Historical Archaeology 7(1): 1-31 (2003) (.pdf).
"Assessing Criticisms of Faunal Analyses and Environmental Reconstructions in the Tehuacán Valley Project," Human Ecology: An Interdisciplinary Journal 29(3): 349-59 (2001) (pdf).
"Conjuring Boundaries: Inferring Past Identities from Religious Artifacts," International Journal of Historical Archaeology 4(4): 281-313 (2000) (pdf).
Excavations & Research
Last updated: Feb. 10, 2020