Seed Grant Award: Rethinking Archaeological Pedagogy at Columbia and in the Field More Widely

Zoë Crossland, Brian Boyd, Hannah Chazin, Terence D'Altroy, Severin Fowles, Anthropology; Francesco de Angelis, Lisa Trever, Art History and Archaeology; Marc Van de Mieroop, Lakshmi Ramgopal, History; Ellen Morris, Classics; Steven L. Goldstein, Sidney Hemming, Dorothy Peteet, Earth and Environmental Sciences; Jue Guo, East Asian Languages and Cultures; Erica Avrami, Jorge Otero Pailos, Architecture, Planning & Preservation


This project aims to rethink archaeological pedagogy at Columbia and to use this as a stepping stone to build broader conversations, and disseminate relevant resources across the discipline.

A key question for the field is how to foster a pedagogical environment that both attracts a wide range of students to archaeology and retains them. Students from BIPOC backgrounds recount how they often feel isolated in archaeology programs, don’t see themselves reflected in the curriculum or syllabi, find subtle and not-so-subtle social barriers to fully participating in class, and lack sustained mentoring. It is clear that beyond working harder to attract BIPOC and other under-represented students to our programs, archaeologists also need to work on creating and sustaining a culture and environment that is conducive to retaining and supporting potential archaeology students.  

With this project we aim to develop a series of workshops aimed at faculty and students that will build an interdisciplinary conversation at Columbia about curriculum, syllabi, inclusive pedagogical methods, and mentoring. We then aim to scale this conversation up and out to other universities across the US, with the end goal of creating resources that can be drawn upon by faculty in designing and redesigning their teaching and curricula. This project has been developed in close collaboration with the Society of Black Archaeologists, and the Archaeology Centers Coalition.

This project was funded through the Addressing Racism: A Call to Action for Higher Education initiative of the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement.