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Andrew Womack receives Early Career Fellowship in China Studies

Andrew Womack, assistant professor, Asian studies, anthropology.

Last updated May 1, 2023

By Tina Underwood

The American Council of Learned Societies has announced that Andrew Womack, assistant professor of Asian studies and anthropology at Furman University, is one of 15 scholars to receive a 2023 Luce/ACLS Early Career Fellowship in China Studies.

The Early Career Fellowships support emerging scholars whose research centers on China’s societies, histories, cultures, environment, art and global impact.

During his one-year sabbatical, Womack, who joined Furman in 2020, will continue research he began while working on his dissertation at Yale University as part of the Tao River Archaeological Project, an international collaboration.

In his Luce/ACLS Program grant proposal titled, “Tao River Archaeological Project: Mapping Proto-Silk Road Interactions in Northwestern China,” he wrote, “The neolithic and bronze age in northwestern China’s Gansu Province was a key time for the formation of interaction networks that allowed for movements of people, goods, and technologies that shaped the formation of early states. However, how these networks were formed and functioned, and the impact they had on local societies remain unclear.

“The Tao River Archaeological Project sought to shed light on these important issues through years of archaeological survey and excavation as several sites in the Tao River Valley.”

Beginning in May, Womack will work mostly in San Francisco at the Stanford Archaeology Center conducting final lab analyses. Fluent in Mandarin, Womack will travel to Lanzhou, the capital of China’s Gansu Province, in the fall to reconnect with colleagues and continue his book, which will be published in Chinese and eventually in English.

“I haven’t traveled to China since 2019 due to the pandemic,” Womack said. “In addition to finalizing my project, I want to rebuild connections with colleagues so I can arrange to have Furman students go and do field work there with me in the future.” Womack, who teaches courses in East Asian archaeology including archaeology of the Silk Road, also looks forward to incorporating his findings in classes.

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