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Staff Biography

Bonnie Ryan

Bonnie Ryan

Librarian for Social Sciences
Research and Scholarship
Bird Library


Subject Areas

Africa, African American Studies, Anthropology, Latin American Studies, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies (LGBT), Native American Studies, Psychology, Sociology, Women's & Gender Studies

Research Interests

Bonnie Ryan is an anthropological archaeologist, specializing in historical archaeology. Her geographic area of research comprises the Black Atlantic including plantation sites in the Caribbean, U.S. South and in particular, sites related to Harriet Tubman including her home in Auburn, N. Y. and supposed birthplace in Cambridge, Md. From 2001-2002 Ryan was a teaching and research fellow at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland and Assistant Director of Field Research, Harriet Tubman birth site, Cambridge, Maryland.


Bonnie Ryan has been at Syracuse University (SU) Libraries since February, 1990. She started her tenure at SU Libraries as the Head of Access Services, but joined what was then reference services in 1997 when she went back to complete her master’s degree in Anthropology. She briefly shared responsibility as Head of Reference services from 2003-2004 and became part of the Social Sciences and Area Studies Department in 2005-2009. Currently, she is part of the Research, Collections and Scholarly Communication Division since 2009.

Ryan has a BA in Social Work from Syracuse University (1978), MLS from Case Western Reserve University (1981) and an MA in Anthropology, Syracuse University (2000).

Ryan has served on many Libraries and University committees and has been active in national professional organizations in both the library and historical archaeology fields, including committees within the American Library Association’s American College & Research Libraries divisions and the Society of Historical Archaeology.

Selected Publications

  • Reviews for the publication Choice on topics dealing with archaeology and African American history, 2004 to the present.

  • Review of database Alt-Press Watch, published in ANSS Currents, Spring 2007.

  •  Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged Project: A Glass Analysis.

  • Report, Archaeological Research Center. Syracuse University, Department of Anthropology, Co-written with Douglas Armstrong, May 2000

  • Intimate Circles of Activism: Abolitionists of Central New York. Exhibition curated for the Syracuse University Library Special Collections, February - August 1999.

  • "Intimate Circles of Activism: Abolitionists of Central New York, 1830-1870" Catalog of an Exhibition, Syracuse University Library, Summer 1999.

Instruction, Lectures, Presentations

  • January, 2000 Co-Chair. Session on African-Canadian archaeological sites. Society of Historical Archaeology Annual Conference, Quebec City

  • February 2, 2000 Lecture. Harriet Tubman Home for Onondaga Historical Association with Dr. Douglas Armstrong.

  • April 4, 2000 Lecture. Harriet Tubman Home Masters Project. Glass Analysis. Syracuse University Library.

  • Fall, 2000 ANT141, Introduction to Archaeology and Prehistory, Discussion Section #8; Teaching Assistant for lecture and discussion section instructor; 3 credit, semester course, Syracuse University, Department of Anthropology

  • July 9 – Aug 17, 2001 ANT 210, Archaeological Field School, Washington College Harriet Tubman Birth site, Cambridge, Maryland. Team taught with Dr. John Seidel.

  • Fall, 2001 ANT 207, Introduction to Historical Archaeology, Washington College, 3 credits, semester course

  • Spring, 2002 ANT 600, African American Archaeology, Washington College, 3 credits, semester course

  • January 31, 2002 Lecture. African American Abolitionists in Maryland. Talbot County Historical Society, Easton, Maryland

  • February 2, 2002 Lecture. Harriet Tubman Archaeological Research. Kent County Historical Society, Chestertown, Maryland

  • March 28, 2002 Created and coordinated a student conference on diversity, “Redefining the American Identity”, Washington College, Chestertown, Maryland

  • March 30, 2002 Guest speaker. Town Hall Meeting, WEAA, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland

  • June 3 – July 12, 2002 ANT 209, Archaeological Field School, Washington College Harriet Tubman Birth site. Team taught with Dr. John Seidel.

  • Spring 2008 AAS 400, Black Syracuse. Co-taught with Dr. Joan Bryant, African American Studies, Dr. Marcia Robinson, Religion, Angela Williams, Librarian, Martin Luther King Library, Department of African American Studies, Syracuse University, 3 credits, semester course

  • 1981 – Present Library instruction sessions in a variety of disciplines; including Environmental Sciences, Anthropology, African- American Studies, LGBTQ Studies, Native American Studies, Women’s & Gender Studies

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