I am an anthropologist and lawyer (MA, U. Pennsylvania; JD, Georgetown U. 1989; Ph.D., U. Virginia 2003), specializing in African diaspora studies, legal anthropology, and historical archaeology as an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Law. I served as the Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Head of Anthropology at UIUC from 2010 through 2013. 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: faculty affiliate of the Center for African Studies and the Department of African American Studies, offering courses addressing African diaspora subjects and issues of racialization; member of the College of Law faculty, offering interdisciplinary seminars for graduate and law students; and affiliate faculty member of the Department of Landscape Architecture, offering courses on landscape analysis and surveying techniques. Publications, including recent books, research papers, and works in progress, are listed in my resume. I am privileged to work with a number of talented doctoral advisees, including George Calfas (Ph.D. 2013), Kathryn Fay (MA), Jamie Arjona (NSF Graduate Fellowship recipient), Tatiana Niculescu, Zev Cossin (NSF Graduate Fellowship recipient), Shawn Fields (Graduate College Fellowship recipient), Rebecca Schumann (MA), and Kathrina Aben (MAA), 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 a member of the board of directors of the Society for Historical Archaeology. I received the 2009 John L. Cotter Award by the Society for Historical Archaeology 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," and a University Scholar award (2014-2017).
I am also collaborating on a multi-year research projects concerning: cultural landscapes and intersections of tradition and modernity in west Ireland; African-American craft innovations and industrial-scale production activities in the Edgefield Pottery District in South Carolina; 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.
"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), to accompany an exhibition by the Harn Museum of Art and Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren, Belgium.
Journal of African Diaspora Archaeology and Heritage, founding editor of this peer review journal published by Maney Publishing.
"Paradoxes in Designs for a National Historic Landmark's Presentation," Museums & Social Issues 7(2): 323-40 (2012) (with Kathryn O. Fay).
"Literate Inversions and Cultural Metaphors in Edgefield Stoneware," Historical Archaeology 45(2): 156-162 (2011).
"Carved, Inscribed, and Resurgent: Cultural and Natural Terrains as Analytic Challenges," introductory chapter in Revealing Landscapes, an invited book compiled 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," introductory chapter in African Diaspora Archaeology, an invited book compiled by C. Fennell. Society for Historical Archaeology (2008).
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).
Last updated: October 25, 2014