Christopher C. Fennell

Professor of Anthropology
Professor of Center for African Studies
Professor of African American Studies
Professor of Landscape Architecture
Professor of Law

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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 member of the UIUC Center for African Studies, the Department of African American Studies, the College of Law, and the Department of Landscape Architecture. I also serve as Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School.

Office Hours

  • By appointment; Mon., Wed. 1:30pm to 3:00pm 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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