Erickson, Ansley T. (ate11)

Ansley Erickson

Associate Professor of History and Education Policy
Politics & Education Program Director

Office Location:

511 Thmps

Office Hours:

Current students by appointment  

Educational Background

PhD, Columbia University
BA, Brown University

Affiliated faculty member, Columbia University Department of History 

Affiliated faculty member, Institute for Urban and Minority Education

Ansley T. Erickson is a historian who focuses on educational inequality and urban and metropolitan history. Her first book, Making the Unequal Metropolis: School Desegregation and Its Limits (University of Chicago Press, 2016) tells the story of persistent inequality in Nashville, Tennesee's metropolitan school district during periods of segregation and desegregation. Her writing has appeared in the American Journal of Education, History of Education Quarterly, Journal of Urban History, and Teachers College Record, as well as in Dissent and Chalkbeat. In fall 2017, she was a Scholar in Residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library

With Professor Ernest Morrell of Notre Dame, Erickson leads the Harlem Education History Project, a collaborative investigation into the history of education in 20th century Harlem. The project published Educating Harlem: A Century of Schooling and Resistance in a Black Community with Columbia University Press and in an online open-access digital edition in 2019. The project also includes a digital history project, and an ongoing youth participatory history program working in local classrooms.

Erickson was a National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow in 2011-2013, and has held research fellowships from the Spencer Foundation and the Eisenhower Institute among others. She currently serves as an Associate Editor of the American Educational Research Journal and on the editorial board of theTheory and Research in Education. She has served on the editorial board of the History of Education Quarterly, was chair of the History of Education Society Outstanding Book Prize committee in 2015-16, and secretary of the American Educational Research Association's Division F - History and Historiography from 2018-20.

Earlier in her career, Erickson taught history and conducted ethnographic research in New York City schools and worked at two national education organizations. She also has experience in historical documentary film and public history consulting.

Prizes: Outstanding Book Award, History of Education Society, 2017; History of Education Society Prize, 2016 (with co-author Andrew Highsmith); Columbia University Bancroft Dissertation Prize, 2010; History of Education Society Claude A. Eggertsen Dissertation Prize, 2011. 

Scholarly Interests

History of Education in the United States
Educational Policy
Educational Inequality
Urban and Metropolitan History

Selected Publications


Erickson, A. Making the Unequal Metropolis: School Desegregation and Its Limits (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016). 


Articles & Book Chapters

Erickson, A. "Schools in U.S. Cities." Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History, October 2018. 

Erickson, A. and Highsmith, A. "The Neighborhood Unit: Schools, Segregation, and the Shaping of the Modern Metropolis," Teachers College Record, March 2018.

Erickson, A. "Fairness, Commitment, and Civic Capacity: The Varied Desegregation Trajectories of Metropolitan Districts," in The Shifting Landscape of the American School DistrictDavid Gamson and Emily Hodge, eds. (New York: Peter Lang, 2018), 107-126. 

Erickson, A. “Desegregation’s Architects: Education Parks and the Spatial Ideology of Schooling,” History of Education Quarterly, November 2016. 

Erickson, A. "Case Study as Common Text: Collaborating in and Broadening the Reach of History of Education," History of Education Quarterly, February, 2016. 

Highsmith, A. and Erickson, A. "Segregation as Splitting and Joining: Schools, Housing, and the Many Modes of Jim Crow," American Journal of Education, August, 2015. 

Erickson, A. "Historical Research and the Problem of Categories: Reflections on 10,000 Digital Notecards, in Jack Dougherty and Kristen Nawrotzki, eds. Writing History: How Historians Research, Write, and Publish in the Digital Age. (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013) and

Erickson, A. "Building Inequality: The Spatial Organization of Schooling in Nashville, TN, after Brown." Journal of Urban History, Vol. 38, No. 2 (March 2012), 247-270.


Commentary & Public Communications 

Erickson, A. "As historians and New York City educators, here’s what we hope teachers hear in the city’s new anti-bias training." Chalkbeat NY, May 17, 2018. 

Erickson, A. "Affordable Housing, Public Transit, A Mayoral Runoff, Racially Separated Schools. Welcome to Nashville - In 1971." Nashville Scene, August 13, 2015. 

Erickson, A. "Slavery and American Colleges: Historical Entanglements that Matter for Inequality Today," Teachers College Record, May 31, 2014. 

Erickson, A. "The Rhetoric of Choice: Segregation, Desegregation, and Charter Schools." Dissent. (Fall 2011) and reprinted in Michael Katz and Mike Rose, eds. Public Education Under Siege. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013) 



Erickson, A. Review of Richard Rothstein, The Color of Law: The Forgotten Story of How Our Government Segregated America. History of Education Quarterly, 2018 

Erickson, A. Review of Campbell Scribner, The Fight for Local Control: Schools, Suburbs, and American Democracy. Journal of American History, March 2018

Research Support 

Provost's Investment Fund, Teachers College, Columbia, 2012-13

NAE/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2011-13

Clifford Roberts/Eisenhower Institute Dissertation Fellowship, 2009-10

Mrs. Giles A. Whiting Fellowship, 2009-10 (declined to accept Eisenhower)

Mellon Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship, 2007-2009

Spencer Dissertation Fellowship, 2007-9

Archival and Oral History Research Support

Buell Oral History Research Grant

Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library Moody Research Fellowship

Tennessee Historical Society Wills Research Grant

Other Support

Maxine Greene Foundation and the Fund for Teachers, for "Crossing Town: Brown's Legacy in Nashville."

Related Articles

The Rhetoric of Choice: Segregation, Desegregation, and Charter Schools

Writing in the fall 2011 issue of Dissent Magazine, TC's Ansley Erickson argues that a common thread links the current rhetoric of "school choice"and opposition to court-ordered busing for desegregation 40 years ago.

New Faculty Member Wins Bancroft Dissertation Prize

Ansley Erickson has received the prestigious Bancroft Dissertation Award, given by Columbia University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences for outstanding Columbia dissertations in American History (including biography), diplomacy, or international affairs for outstanding Columbia dissertations in American History (including biography), diplomacy, or international affairs.

A Group of TC Faculty Condemns the Release of Teacher Evaluations Based on Student Test Scores

Group of TC Faculty Condemn the Release of Teacher Evaluations Based on Student Test Scores


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