Feder obtained his B.A. in anthropology in 1973 from Stony Brook University in New York. He obtained his M.A. in anthropology in 1975 from the University of Connecticut and his Ph.D. from the same institution in 1982. He has taught in the Department of Anthropology at Central Connecticut State University since 1977 where he is a full professor.
His primary research interests include the archaeology of the native peoples of New England and the analysis of public perceptions about the human past. He is the founder and director of the Farmington River Archaeological Project, an on-going investigation of the prehistory of the Farmington River Valley. He is the author and co-author of several books including: A Village of Outcasts: Historical Archaeology and Documentary Research at the Lighthouse Site (Mayfield Publishing, 2004); the Encyclopedia of Dubious Archaeology (Greenwood, 2010); The Past In Perspective: An Introduction to Human Prehistory (now in its 7th edition; Oxford University Press, 2017); and Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology (now in its 9th edition; Oxford University Press, 2018).
His long-standing desire to encourage people to visit archaeological sites that are open to the public has resulted in his recent book, Ancient America: Fifty Archaeological Sites to See for Yourself (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017). Aimed at a general audience, Ancient America is geared for the archaeological time traveler.
He has appeared as a talking head on numerous cable documentaries (the National Geographic Channel, the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, and others) focused on the human past. One documentary producer described Feder as “a beacon of sanity in a sea of madness,” which actually is a pretty scary thought.
Feder was the co-recipient of the first CCSU Excellence in Teaching Award.