Ansley T. Erickson

Ansley T. Erickson

Research Interest


PhD, Columbia University 
BA, Brown University 

Interests and Research

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 articles have appeared in the American Journal of Education, History of Education Quarterly, Journal of Urban History, and Teachers College Record (forthcoming). 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 includes an edited volume under contract with Columbia University Press, a digital history project, and youth participatory history program. 

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 on the editorial board of the History of Education Quarterly and Theory and Research in Education, and was chair of the History of Education Society Outstanding Book Prize committee in 2015-16. 

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: History of Education Society Prize, 2016 (with co-author Andrew Highsmith); Bancroft Dissertation Prize, 2010; History of Education Society's Claude A. Eggertsen Dissertation Prize, 2011. 

Ansley Erickson C.V.

Affiliated faculty member, Columbia University Department of History 

Affiliated faculty member, Institute for Urban and Minority Education 



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

Articles & Book Chapters

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. "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