Christopher C. Fennell

Professor of Anthropology
Professor of Center for African Studies
Professor of African American Studies
Professor of Landscape Architecture
Professor of Law
Faculty Affiliate of Lemann Institute for Brazilian Studies

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Specializations / Research Interest(s)

  • Historical archaeology, trans-Atlantic comparative studies, diaspora studies, legal anthropology


  • Phd, University of Virginia, 2003. JD, Georgetown University, 1989. MA, University of Pennsylvania, 1986.

Distinctions / Awards

  • Award for Distinguished Service 2012-2013, Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Gustave O. Arlt Award recipient, 2010, for outstanding contribution to scholarship in the humanities, awarded by the Council for Graduate Schools
  • John L. Cotter Award recipient, 2009, for outstanding scholarly achievement in African diaspora studies, awarded by the Society for Historical Archaeology.
  • President, Illinois Archaeological Survey, 2018-2019
  • University of Illinois, included in List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent for ten courses; voted outstanding Anthropology Faculty member by the Undergraduate Anthropology Students Association.
  • University Scholar, 2014-2017, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


  • Archaeological and Historical Examination of a Nationalist Mythology of an Authentic Irish Past, 2013.
  • Cultural Creativity, History & Heritage in Edgefield, South Carolina, 2013, as Project Director, supported by a grant from the Humanities Council of South Carolina and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
  • National Science Foundation, Research Experiences for Undergraduates, New Philadelphia Archaeology Project, 2008-2012
  • Community Informatics Initiative, Civic Engagement among Descendant and Local Communities of New Philadelphia, 2008-2009
  • Memory and Heart: Pasts and Presents of African American Communities, 2011, as Project Director, supported by a grant from the Illinois Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Illinois General Assembly.
  • New Philadelphia Archaeology and the Digital Archaeological Record, 2011, as Principal Investigator, awarded by the Digital Antiquity initiative.
  • National Center for Preservation Training and Technology, Aerial Thermal Survey of New Philadelphia, 2008
  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Faculty Fellowship, 2006-2007; among others.


  • Anth 453 & LA 454, Landscape Archaeology (Fall 2018)
  • Anth 220, Introduction to Archaeology (Fall 2018)
  • Anthropology and Law; Social Norms and Law; Racism and Social Science; Landscape Archaeology; Archaeological Surveying; and Historical Archaeology, among others. Follow "Visit Website" link for syllabi
  • I am a faculty affiliate of, and offer courses related to, the UIUC Center for African Studies, Lemann Institute for Brazilian Studies, Department of African American Studies, College of Law, and Department of Landscape Architecture. I also serve as Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School.

Office Hours

  • Mon., Wed. 1:30pm to 2:30pm or by appointment in Fall 2018



  • Fennell, Christopher C. Broken Chains and Subverted Plans: Ethnicity, Race, and Commodities. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2017.

  • Investigations of Craft and Industrial Enterprise. Comp. Christopher C. Fennell. Society for Historical Archaeology, 2016.

  • Revealing Landscapes. Comp. Christopher Fennell. Tucson: Society for Historical Archaeology, 2011.

  • African Diaspora Archaeology. Comp. Christopher Fennell. Tucson: Society for Historical Archaeology, 2008.

  • Fennell, Christopher. Crossroads and Cosmologies: Diasporas and Ethnogenesis in the New World. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2007.

Book Contributions

  • Fennell, Christopher C., Shawn Fields, and Rebecca Schumann. "Architecture and Landscape Art." Routledge History of the American South. Ed. Maggi Morehouse. New York: Routledge, 2017. 164-176.

  • Fennell, Christopher C. "Reflections on Dynamic African American Cultures and Communities in the Upper Mid-Atlantic, 1610s to 1950s." Archaeologies of African American Life in the Upper Mid-Atlantic. Ed. Michael Gall and Richard Veit. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2017. 185-197.

  • Fennell, Christopher C. "Manufacturing Relationships in Industry, Craft, and Heritage." Investigations of Craft and Industrial Enterprise. Society for Historical Archaeology, 2016. 9-30.

  • "Cultural Creativity, Rebellions, and Comparative Questions for Afro-Brazilian Archaeology." Current Perspectives on the Archaeology of African Slavery in Latin America. New York: Springer, 2015. 99-116.

  • Fennell, Christopher C. "Dexterous Creation: Material Manifestations of Instrumental Symbolism in the Americas." Materialities of Ritual in the Black Atlantic. Ed. Akinwumi Ogundiran and Paula Saunders. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014. 216-235.

  • Fennell, Christopher. "Fighting Despair: Challenges of a Comparative, Global Framework for Slavery Studies." The Archaeology of Slavery: A Comparative Approach to Captivity and Coercion. Ed. Lydia M. Wilson. Carbondale, Illinois: Southern Illinois University Press, 2014. 391-399.

  • Fennell, Christopher C. "Kongo and the Archaeology of Early African America." Kongo Across the Waters. Ed. Susan Cooksey, Robin Poynor, and Hein Vanhee. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2013. 231-239.

  • Fennell, Christopher. "Carved, Inscribed, and Resurgent: Cultural and Natural Terrains as Analytic Challenges." Revealing Landscapes. Ed. Christopher Fennell. Tucson: Society for Historical Archaeology, 2011. 1-11.

  • Fennell, Christopher. "Examining Structural Racism in the Jim Crow Era of Illinois." The Materiality of Freedom: Archaeologies of Post-Emancipation Life. Ed. Jodi Barnes. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2011. 173-189.

  • Fennell, Christopher. "Combating Attempts of Elision: African American Accomplishments at New Philadelphia, Illinois." Intangible Heritage Embodied. New York: Springer, 2009. 147-168 .

  • Fennell, Christopher. "African Diaspora Archaeology in Multiscalar and Multivariate Perspectives." African Diaspora Archaeology. Ed. Christopher Fennell. Tucson: Society for Historical Archaeology, 2008. 1-25.

  • Fennell, Christopher . "BaKongo Identity and Symbolic Expression in the Americas." The Archaeology of Atlantic Africa and the African Diaspora. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007. 210-50.

Journal Articles

  • Fennell, Christopher C. "Innovation, Industry, and African-American Heritage in Edgefield, South Carolina." Journal of African Diaspora Archaeology and Heritage 6.2 (2017): 55-77.

  • Fennell, Christopher C. "Introduction: Navigating Intersections in African Diaspora Archaeology." Historical Archaeology 51.1 (2017): 1-8.

  • Fennell, Christopher. "Artifacts to Invoke, Direct, and Deflect." Historical Archaeology 48.3 (2014): 196-200.

  • Fennell, Christopher. "Introductory Statement." Journal of African Diaspora Archaeology and Heritage 1.1 (2012): 5-8.

  • Fennell, Christopher, and Kathryn Fay. "Paradoxes in Designs for a National Historic Landmark's Presentation." Museums & Social Issues 7.2 (2012): 323-340.

  • Fennell, Christopher. "Early African America: Archaeological Studies of Significance and Diversity." Journal of Archaeological Research 19.1 (2011): 1-49.

  • Fennell, Christopher. "Literate Inversions and Cultural Metaphors in Edgefield Stoneware." Historical Archaeology 45.2 (2011): 156-162.

  • Fennell, Christopher. "Damaging Detours: Routes, Racism and New Philadelphia." Historical Archaeology 44.1 (2010): 138-154.

  • Fennell, Christopher. "Excavating Strata of Memory and Forgetting." SAA Archaeological Record 8.1 (2008): 17-21.

  • Fennell, Christopher, and Lee A. Fennell. "Fear and Greed in Tax Policy: A Qualitative Research Agenda." Washington University Journal of Law and Policy 13 (2003): 75-138 .

  • Fennell, Christopher. "Group Identity, Individual Creativity and Symbolic Generation in a BaKongo Diaspora." International Journal of Historical Archaeology 7.1 (2003): 1-31.

  • Fennell, Christopher. "Molded Malevolence: Instrumental Symbolism Rendered in Clay." Ceramics in America 3 (2003): 270-273.

  • Fennell, Christopher. "Assessing Criticisms of Faunal Analyses and Environmental Reconstructions in the Tehuacan Valley Project." Human Ecology: An Interdisciplinary Journal 29.3 (2001): 349-359.

  • Fennell, Christopher. "Conjuring Boundaries: Inferring Past Identities from Religious Artifacts." International Journal of Historical Archaeology 4.4 (2000): 281-313.

Encyclopedia Entries

  • Fennell, Christopher. "African Diaspora Archaeology." Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology. New York: Springer Press, 2012.

  • Fennell, Christopher. "African Diaspora Archaeology Network." Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology. New York: Springer Press, 2012.

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