Christopher C. Fennell

Professor, Department of Anthropology
Faculty Affiliate, Center for African Studies
Faculty Affiliate, Department of African American Studies
Professor, College of Law (by courtesy)


Chris Fennell is a Professor of Anthropology and Law at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has been appointed a University Scholar in recognition of excellence in his research, scholarship, and teaching. Fennell has conducted archaeological investigations at 19th century sites in Illinois, Virginia, and South Carolina with grant support by the National Science Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities. After clerking for the Honorable Jane R. Roth (D. Del./3d Circuit), he was a practicing attorney for several years in Washington, DC in the areas of antitrust, contracts, product liability, torts, false claims, and securities disputes.

He offers law school courses on anthropology, social norms, and the dynamics of racism, as well as archaeology courses for undergraduate and graduate students, and has received a number of awards for teaching excellence.

Professor Fennell served as an officer and director for professional societies focused on archaeology and for the Collaborative for Cultural Heritage Management and Policy. He is founding editor of the peer-reviewed Journal of African Diaspora Archaeology and Heritage (Taylor & Francis) and Restorative Justice in Heritage Studies and Archaeology book series (Routledge). Fennell’s work on the New Philadelphia, Illinois Archaeology Project contributed to the creation of the nation’s 424th National Park in 2022.

His publications include the book Crossroads and Cosmologies: Diasporas and Ethnogenesis in the New World (2007), for which he received the 2009 John Cotter award from the Society for Historical Archaeology and the 2010 Gustave Arlt award from the Council for Graduate Schools for outstanding contributions to the humanities. Fennell’s latest books are Broken Chains and Subverted Plans: Ethnicity, Race, and Commodities (2017) and The Archaeology of Craft and Industry(2021).

Department of Anthropology bio

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