Lauren Finnigan

Adjunct Professor of Anthropology


PhD 2023, University of Notre Dame

BA 2016, Indiana University of South Bend

Research and Teaching Interests

Archaeology, historic working-class American womanhood, brickmaking, industrial and urban anthropology, archaeometry, historic brick properties, economies and powers of aesthetics and ornamentality, the American Rust Belt, semiotics of women’s sexuality, materiality, and mate selection.


Lauren is a historical archaeologist who studies relationships of women and power in the American Gilded Age. Her doctoral dissertation, titled The Necessary and The Ornamental: Women’s Empowered Labor in Pullman, Chicago, 1880-1894, was completed in 2023 at the University of Notre Dame. She used archaeological and historical data to illustrate some of the ways women used their labor to empower themselves and their families in an otherwise paternalist and planned industrial town.

Lauren is a passionate teacher committed to a student-centered learning pedagogy that uses anthropology as a resource for transformative learning. She also performs cross-disciplinary research on 19th-century brickmaking in the Great Lakes region of the American Midwest. Data from her studies support the recycle and repair of historic brick in preservation and adaptive reuse programs.

Phone: 574-631-4744
Office: 232 Corbett Family Hall