|Sarah Croucher has
joined the Department of Anthropology as an assistant professor. She is
teaching Introduction to Archaeology and Historical Archaeology of the
Modern World this fall.
Croucher comes to Wesleyan from the University of Manchester in the United
Kingdom, where she was a teaching fellow in the Archeology Department.
There, she taught courses which included the theory and philosophy of
archaeology and archaeological field practice.
Croucher grew up in Kenilworth, Warwickshire. Wesleyan is her first
experience teaching within a liberal arts setting.
“I really love being here at Wesleyan,” she says. “Liberal arts colleges
don’t really have a U.K. equivalent, so this is a new and exciting
environment for me.”
During her time at Manchester she participated in, supervised and directed
several archeological excavations and fieldwork studies. Her own fieldwork
research is currently being pursued through an ongoing investigation of 19th
century sites in western Tanzania, where she explores themes of identity in
the period of Omani colonialism.
Her major research project was survey and excavation work, which was the
first to address the archaeology of 19th century clove plantations on
Zanzibar, Tanzania. Her interest in these was on the rapid social changes
taking place on the East African coast during a period of Omani colonialism.
From excavations at a plantation site, she was able to explore the ways in
which material culture such as architecture and ceramics were actively
engaged in the negotiation of identities for plantation site residents.
Recently she has begun a new field project,
which investigates caravan routes that ran from the East African coast
inland as far as the Congo during the 18th and 19th centuries. These routes
were tied to the trading of captive Africans from inland areas to the Indian
Ocean coast. She plans to continue this research by excavating sites near
the town of Ujiji on the shore of Lake Tanganyika.
Croucher has also worked as a supervisor on prehistoric and historic period
archaeological projects in Bahrain, Ghana, Scotland and England, as well as
multiple projects in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. She also worked on
excavation and post-excavation analysis stages of the ‘Alderley Sandhills
Project’, which investigated rural workers’ cottages inhabited from the 18th
to 20th centuries in Cheshire, England.
Croucher received her bachelor of arts in 2000, master of arts in 2002 and
Ph.D in 2006 in archeology from the University of Manchester. Her Ph.D.
thesis was titled “Plantations on Zanzibar: An Archeological Approach to
Complex Identities,” and her master’s dissertation was titled “The
Archaeology of Omani Colonialism on The East African Coast.” Topics she
studied included the archaeology of ethnicity, religions, gender and sexual
She’s the author of “Facing Many Ways: Approaches to Archaeological
Landscapes of the East African Coast,” published in Landscape
Archaeology: Global Perspectives by Left Coast Press; “Clove Plantations
on 19th Century Zanzibar: Possibilities for Gender Archaeology in Africa,”
published in the Journal of Social Archaeology; and the co-author of
“People, Not Pots: Locally Produced Ceramics and Identity on the
Nineteenth-Century East African Coast,” published in the International
Journal of African Historical Studies. Croucher also is the co-author of
a forthcoming book “The Alderley Sandhills Project: The Archaeology of
Community Life in Industrial and Post-Industrial England,” based on the
results from excavations, that will be published by Manchester University
Press, in association with English Heritage, in spring 2008.
Croucher has received several grants and awards during her time at
Manchester. Her fieldwork was supported by grants from the Emslie Horniman
Scholarship of the Royal Anthropological Institute, the British Institute in
Eastern Africa and the Zochonis Special Enterprise Award from the University
of Manchester. Her studies were supported by the Arts and Humanities
Research Board, and the William Edwards Educational charity.
She has presented more than a dozen papers at international conferences,
most recently “A ‘neglected aspect?’ African Diaspora Archaeology in Eastern
Africa,” for the Society for Historical Archaeology Conference at Colonial
Williamsburg, Virginia in January 2007, and “Modernity and African
Historical Archaeology,” at the Theoretical Archeology Group, Exeter,
England in December 2006.
Next spring, Croucher will co-teach Being and Becoming Human with Daniella
Gandolfo, assistant professor of anthropology.
“The students here are great, and I’m finding my teaching very rewarding
already,” Croucher says, during her third week at Wesleyan. “My colleagues
are also brilliant, and have made sure that I’ve been settling in OK in
Croucher resides in Middletown and enjoys running and eating cake.