PhD, Columbia University, History
BA, Brown University, Educational Studies and Political Science
Affiliated faculty member, Columbia University Department of History
Ansley T. Erickson is a U.S. historian who focuses on how racism and capitalism shape schooling in cities, and how communities fight for educational equality. Her first book, Making the Unequal Metropolis: School Desegregation and Its Limits was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2016 and won the History of Education Society’s Outstanding Book Award in 2017.
She is co-editor of Educating Harlem: A Century of Schooling and Resistance in a Black Community, published by Columbia University Press in 2019 and available in an open-access digital edition. In addition to several academic journals, her writing has appeared in the Washington Post, Dissent magazine, Chalkbeat, The Tennessean, and The Nashville Scene.
Erickson also co-directs the Teachers College Center on History and Education, which works with scholars, educators, and community members to generate new knowledge about teaching and learning in the past and explore their implications for the present, with a primary focus on the history of education in New York City. In this role, she helps lead the New York City Civil Rights History Project, a collaborative partnership to develop teaching resources on racism, ableism, and struggles for justice in NYC schools, and the NEH Summer Institute for Teachers “Harlem’s Education Movements: Changing the Civil Rights Narrative.”
Her work has been supported by fellowships and grants from the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation, the Eisenhower Institute, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Archives and Records Administration, Humanities NY, and the Morningside Area Alliance.
Erickson served as an associate editor of the American Educational Research Journal from 2020-2023. With appreciation for the support she has received in scholarly communities, she has been pleased to serve as Secretary for Division F of the American Educational Research Association and as a mentor for the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Dissertation and Post-doctoral Fellowships and AERA Division F.
Before becoming a historian, Erickson taught history and humanities and conducted ethnographic research in New York City public schools and worked at two national education organizations. Together with what she has learned as a New York City public school parent and in ongoing partnerships with local schools, these experiences guide and motivate her work as a historian.
For a complete curriculum vitae and downloadable publications, see Documents tab to the left.
Erickson, A. and Ernest Morrell, eds. Educating Harlem: A Century of Schooling and Resistance in a Black Community (New York: Columbia University Press, 2019), and in an open access digital edition.
Erickson, A. Making the Unequal Metropolis: School Desegregation and Its Limits (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016).
Articles & Book Chapters
Erickson, A. “Who Decides?: Governing New York City Public Schools since the 1960s,” in New York City Since the 1960s (working title), Kim Phillips-Fein, Johanna Fernandez, and Mason Williams, eds., in progress.
Erickson, A. and Andrew Highsmith, “The Myth and Reality of De Facto Segregation,” in Myths in the History of American Education, eds. Sherman Dorn and David Gamson. (New York: Teachers College Press, forthcoming).
Erickson, A., Leana Cabral, Esther Cyna, Michael Hines, and Matthew Gardner Kelly, "History and the Education Policy Imagination," in AERA Handbook of Education Policy, Janelle Scott, Lora Cohen Vogel, and Peter Youngs, eds., forthcoming.
Erickson, A. “How/Should We Generalize?,” History of Education Quarterly 60th Anniversary Forum, Vol. 60, No. 1 (April 2020): 86-97.
Erickson, A. "HARYOU: An Apprenticeship for Young Leaders,” in Educating Harlem: A Century of Schooling and Resistance in a Black Community, Ansley T. Erickson and Ernest Morrell, eds. (New York: Columbia University Press, November 2019)
Erickson, A. “Cities in the History of Education,” in John Rury and Eileen Tamura, eds. The Oxford Handbook of History of Education, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019)
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 District, David 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 www.digitalculturebooks.org
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.
Public History & Curriculum Projects
New York City Civil Rights History Project (in progress), co-director.
Commentary & Public Communications
Interviewee in School Colors Podcast, Season 2, episode 3.
Featured scholar in Nashville Public Education Foundation’s “By Design: The Shaping of Public Education in Nashville,” 2021.
Featured scholar in WPLN-Nashville’s “The Promise” podcast, Season 2, 2020.
Erickson, A. "What Nashville can teach New York about school desegregation," Washington Post, September 4, 2019.
Erickson, A. “More causality, less anti-blackness: historical lessons for desegregation’s future” AJE Forum, September 9, 2019.
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)
“Schools in U.S. Cities,” in Tim Gilfoyle et al., eds. The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018)
“How/Should We Generalize?,” History of Education Quarterly 60th Anniversary Forum, Vol. 60, No. 1 (April 2020): 86-97.
Curriculum Vitae, Ansley Erickson
“Building Inequality: The Spatial Organization of Schooling in Nashville, Tennessee after Brown.” Journal of Urban History, Vol. 38, No. 2 (March 2012), 241-270
“The Neighborhood Unit: Schools, Segregation, and the Shaping of the Modern Metropolitan Landscape,” (Andrew Highsmith, co-author), Teachers College Record, Vol. 130 (April 2018)
“Segregation as Splitting, Segregation as Joining: Schools, Housing, and the Many Modes of Jim Crow,” American Journal of Education Vol. 121, No. 4 (August 2015), 563-595 (Andrew Highsmith, co-author)
“Desegregation’s Architects: Education Parks and the Spatial Ideology of Schooling,” History of Education Quarterly Vol. 56, No. 4 (November 2016), 560-589
“Slavery and the American College: Historical Entanglements that Matter for Understanding Inequality Today” (Commentary) Teachers College Record, May 30, 2014
“The Rhetoric of Choice: Segregation, Desegregation, and Charter Schools,” Dissent, Fall 2011, 41-46
“The Urban History of Education,” in John Rury and Eileen Tamura, eds. The Oxford Handbook of History of Education, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019)