Dr. Marie Danforth, a professor of anthropology at The University of Southern Mississippi and one of the country’s leading bioarchaelogists, was recently awarded the Mississippi Humanities Council’s Humanities Scholar Award.
The Humanities Scholar Award honors a scholar in a traditional humanities field who has participated in Council programs, serving as interpreter of his or her discipline to public audiences. Danforth was presented with the award and recognized at the Mississippi Humanities Council’s Public Awards Luncheon on March 22 in Jackson.
As a physical anthropologist, Danforth studies human remains and how they tell us about the ways people have lived and died. By presenting her work to a wide range of audiences, she has enabled the public to see the relevance of anthropology to understanding our human past and has engaged community groups in collecting data and interpreting it to understand our local and regional history.
"Working with the public has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of the research. The knowledge they have to share has added tremendously to our work," Danforth said.
“In our department we know the quality of the scholarship Dr. Danforth does, and we see daily the ease with which she communicates her work to a broad audience, on and off campus,” said Dr. Amy Miller, department chair of anthropology and sociology. “We’re excited to see her get broader recognition for the exceptional contributions she has made to understanding of humanity.”
The Mississippi Humanities Council (MHC) is a private nonprofit corporation funded by Congress through the National Endowment for the Humanities. MHC sponsors, supports and conducts a wide range of programs designed to promote understanding of our cultural heritage, interpret our own experience, foster critical thinking, encourage reasonable public discourse, strengthen our sense of community, thus empowering Mississippi's people with a vision for the future.
“Dr. Danforth’s enthusiasm for developing the connections between the humanities and natural sciences for her students is unmatched and they credit her for making these academically challenging courses interesting and exciting,” said Dr. Steven Moser, dean of the College of Arts and Letters. “Because of her work, many people in our state understand how anthropology matters and the ways in which it relates to our own lives.”