Program Description

The Engaged Scholars Program in Archaeology and the Ancient World is geared for Archaeology concentrators who are invested in thinking about – and helping to shape – archaeology’s role in social and cultural change. Engaged Scholars in Archaeology should be interested in not only learning about the ancient world, but also understanding the social and public role of the material past in the present, studying public perceptions and attitudes towards antiquities, and connecting these theoretical and academic approaches with hands-on, meaningful engagement with a community organization or project.

Archaeology’s Engaged Scholars Program encourages students to think deeply about the intersections between their academic studies with efforts to engage various communities and publics in the archaeological process – potentially including approaches such as public and community archaeology programs (including Archaeology of College Hill and Think Like an Archaeologist), archaeological ethnography, and other community-based projects.  Engaged scholars combine hands-on experiences such as internships, public service, humanitarian and development work with their academic learning in order to develop a deeper understanding of, and appreciation for, social engagement.


Requirements for Engaged Scholars in Archaeology

Students interested in becoming Engaged Scholars in Archaeology should apply to the ESP program in ASK at the same time that they declare the Archaeology concentration – though it is also possible to revise your concentration declaration to add the Engaged Scholar declaration at a later time. Students do not need to take courses beyond those required for the concentration in Archaeology to fulfill their Engaged Scholar requirements, though they may wish to do so. Many of the requirements can be fulfilled either during the academic year or over the summers.  While fulfilling concentration requirements, students must also complete the following requirements:

  1. Three courses in Archaeology (or in other programs, if approved by one of JIAAW’s ESP Advisors in advance).  These will also count towards the concentration.
    (*Note: The courses appearing on these lists may not offered every year. The lists of approved courses will be updated each Fall.

    1. One of the following courses offering a broad perspective on archaeology’s role in social engagement*:

      • ARCH 1175  Archaeology Matters! Past Perspectives on Modern Problems
      • ARCH 1536  Archaeological Ethnographies: Heritage and Community in the Mediterranean (ANTH 1126)
      • ARCH 1543  Decolonizing Classical Antiquity: White Nationalism, Colonialism, and Ancient Material Heritage (MGRK 1220)
      • CLAS 0210 L or ARCH 1550/1551  Who Owns the Classical Past?

    2. One course that incorporates some aspect of hands-on engagement with the Providence community, including*:

      • ARCH 1170  Community Archaeology in Providence and Beyond
      • ARCH 1900  The Archaeology of College Hill
      • ANTH 1940  Ethnographic Research Methods (with prior permission from one of JIAAW’s ESP Advisors)

    3. At least one additional ARCH course designated by the faculty as “engaged pedagogy” (a broad category that is intended to encompass courses that include interaction with the Providence community or other relevant communities, and/or an emphasis on the role of archaeology in social justice issues, ethical debates, or effecting local or global change).  See list below, or additional classes will be considered with prior permission from one of JIAAW’s ESP Advisors.

  2. Participation in at least three classroom or museum visits as part of the Think Like an Archaeologist program.

  3. Completion of the Engaged Scholar seminar, SOC 0310 Theory and Practice of Engaged Scholarship (ESP Seminar), ideally in the Fall of Junior Year. If students have questions about this requirement they should discuss with ESP staff.

  4. A significant long-term practicum in engaged scholarship approved by one of JIAAW’s ESP Advisors and by Swearer Center staff. The ESP archaeology practicum may take place anywhere in the world, and may occur over the school year, in the summer, or both.  Projects may be aligned with courses or pursued independently, and students should commit to devoting 150-250 hours to this hands-on project in the community.  ESP staff supervise the practicum, which involves several written assignments.

  5. A one-semester independent study (ARCH 1970) overseen by an Archaeology faculty member that relates in some way to the practicum project, another research project with an engaged element that the student has conducted, or a topic integrally connected with issues of engaged scholarship in archaeology (e.g., ethics, cultural heritage, social change, etc.), which will result in a substantial written product (the Capstone project and/or an Honors Thesis).

    1. Students not pursuing honors should enroll in ARCH 1970 for one semester (either Fall or Spring of senior year) with an Archaeology faculty member, and will complete a Capstone project.

    2. Students pursuing honors should enroll in ARCH 1970 in the Fall of senior year, and ARCH 1990 in the Spring, while completing their honors thesis (which must include a substantial engaged element).  To receive honors in Archaeology, a student must have earned more A’s than B’s in archaeology, completed ARCH 1970 and ARCH 1990 in the senior year, and completed a senior thesis assessed as honors quality by the student’s thesis advisor and reader.

  6. ESP students are part of an interdisciplinary community of undergraduate scholars that meets regularly for workshops, lectures, and other programming, organized by the Joukowsky Institute, the Swearer Center, and other related programs.


Application Process

Students’ application to the Engaged Scholars program in Archaeology is incorporated as part of the concentration declaration form in ASK (  At the time of their declaration of a concentration in Archaeology and the Ancient World (or later, as a revision to their concentration declaration, if enough semester remain for the student to complete the program) students apply to ESP via ASK, as part of the declaration process. The application question ask to students to outline their reasons for interest in the Engaged Scholars program; relevant experiences, coursework, research, and/or past community work they have already undertaken; what they hope to learn and explore through the ESP; courses they might want to take; possible practicum projects; and ideas for their future capstone project. Applications are reviewed and approved by both the Joukowsky Institute and by Swearer Center staff. Students will be contacted by ESP staff directly about their application status before the end of the semester.


For more information contact JIAAW’s Engaged Scholar Program Advisors:

Sarah Sharpe, Assistant Director, Joukowsky Institute ( or
Professor Yannis Hamilakis (



Archaeology courses with “Engaged” pedagogy offered in AY 2017-2018:

MGRK 1220  Decolonizing Classical Antiquity: White Nationalism, Colonialism, and Ancient Material Heritage
HIAA 1440F/HIAA 2440D  Architectural Reuse: The Appropriation of the Past
ARCH 1900  The Archaeology of College Hill
ARCH 2180  Memory and Materiality
ARCH 2184  Material Culture and the Bodily Senses: Past and Present

ANTH 0066D  Who Owns the Past?    
ARCH 0303  Material Culture: Material Nature
ARCH 0310  Interactions with the Dead: In the Past and Present
ARCH 1175  Archaeology Matters! Past Perspectives on Modern Problems
EGYT 1465  Daily Life in Ancient Egypt
ARCH 1720   How Houses Build People
ANTH 1623  Archaeology of Death