Shannon Lee Dawdy


Contact Information

Office: Haskell 202
Phone: (773) 834-0829
Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

(PhD, U Michigan 2003) Associate Professor of Anthropology and of Social Sciences in the College, is an anthropologist whose fieldwork combines archaeological, archival, and ethnographic methods with a regional focus on the U.S. South, the Caribbean, and Mexico (especially Louisiana, Cuba, and eastern Mexico). Her first single-author book, Building the Devil's Empire, offers 'rogue colonialism' to explain how French New Orleans, and many colonies like it, functioned outside state controls, developing a political economy loosely moored to metropolitan interests. Current themes of research and teaching include: piracy and informal economies; aesthetics, affect, and sensoria; temporality; gender and sexuality; fetish and thing theory; death and disaster; archaeology of the contemporary. She is currently completing a book called Patina: A Profane Archaeology that examines the intimate relations between people and old things like antiques, heirlooms, historic houses, and ruins, based on the archaeology of New Orleans and ethnographic interviews with Katrina survivors. Other projects in the works include a book called 'Romantic Capitalism, or Sex with Marx' and an ethnographic study of contemporary American death practices. For more information on Dr. Dawdy's archaeological research, go to: (On leave Autumn-Winter 2015-16).

Selected Works

Selected Publications

Year Title / Publications PDF
2016 Patina: A Profane Archaeology. University of Chicago Press
2013 The Archaeology of Illegal and Illicit Economies (with Alexandra Hartnett) Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 42: 37-51.
2012 Towards a General Theory of Piracy (with Joe Bonni). Anthropological Quarterly, 83(3): 673-700.
2011 Why Pirates Are Back. Annual Review of Law and Social Science 7: 361-385.
2011 Sexualizing Space: The Colonial Leer and the Genealogy of Storyville. In B. Voss and E. Casella, eds., The Archaeology of Colonialism: Intimate Encounters and Sexual Effects. Cambridge University Press: 271-289.
2011 (with Elizabeth M. Scott) Colonial and Creole Diets in Eighteenth-Century New Orleans. In K. Kelly and M. Hardy, eds., French Colonial Archaeology: A view from the South. Gainesville: University Press of Florida: 97-116.
2010 Clockpunk Anthropology and the Ruins of Modernity. Current Anthropology 51(6):761-793.
2010 ‘A Wild Taste’: Food and Colonialism in Eighteenth-century Louisiana. Ethnohistory 57(3):389-414.
2010 Disaster Preparedness. In Edward Murphy, David William Cohen et al., eds., Anthrohistory: Unsettling Knowledge, Questioning Discipline. University of Michigan Press, 140-155.
2010 (with Christopher N. Matthews) Colonial and Early Antebellum New Orleans. In Mark Rees, ed., The Archaeology of Louisiana. Louisiana State University Press, 273-290.
2009 Millennial Archaeology: Locating the Discipline in the Age of Insecurity/Doomsday Confessions. Invited discussion article, Archaeological Dialogues 16(2): 131-142, 186-193.
2008 Building the Devil’s Empire: French Colonial New Orleans. University of Chicago Press.
2008 Dumont de Montigny: Regards sur le monde atlantique, 1715-1747. (Co-ed. with C. Zecher and G. Sayre.) Québec/Paris: Septentrion.
2008 Comment on Gender, Race, and Labor in the Archeology of the Spanish-Colonial Americas by Barbara Voss. Current Anthropology 49(5):876-877.
2008 Beneath the Rising Sun: ‘Frenchness’ and the Archaeology of Desire. International Journal of Historical Archaeology 11(3):370-387 (with Richard Weyhing).
2008 Scoundrels, Whores, and Gentlemen: Defamation and Society in French Colonial Louisiana. In R.F. Brown, ed., Coastal Encounters: The Transformation of the Gulf South in the Eighteenth Century. University of Nebraska Press, 132-150.
2008 Excavating the Present, Vindicating the Dead (invited commentary). Historical Archaeology 42(2):152-156.
2007 A French Soldier in Louisiana: The Memoir of Dumont de Montigny. The French Review 80(6): 1265-1277 (with Carla Zecher and Gordon M. Sayre).
2007 La Nouvelle-Orléans au xviie siècle: courants d‘échanges dans le monde caraïbe [original English title: Undercurrents of the Atlantic World: The View from Eighteenth-Century New Orleans]. Annales (Paris, Fall 2007) 62(3): 663-685.
2006 The Taphonomy of Disaster and the (Re)formation of New Orleans. American Anthropologist. 108(4): 719-730.
2006 The Burden of Louis Congo and the Evolution of Savagery in Colonial Louisiana. In S. Pierce & A. Rao, eds., Discipline and the Other Body: Correction, Corporeality, Colonialism. Duke University Press, 61-89.
2006 Proper Caresses and Prudent Distance: A How-to Manual from Louisiana. In A.L. Stoler, ed., Haunted by Empire: Geographies of Intimacy in North American History. Duke University Press, 140-162.
2005 Thinker-Tinkers, Race, and the Archaeological Critique of Modernity. Archaeological Dialogues 12(2): 143-164.
2005 (Co-ed. w/ A. Curet & G. La Rosa) Dialogues in Cuban Archaeology. University of Alabama Press.
2003 Enlightenment from the Ground: Le Page du Pratz’ Histoire de la Louisiane. French Colonial History 3: 17-34.
2002 La Comida Mambisa: Food, Farming, and Cuban Identity, 1834-1999. New West Indian Guide 76(1-2): 47-80.
2000 Understanding Cultural Change through the Vernacular: Creolization in Louisiana. Historical Archaeology 34(3): 107-123.
2000 Ethnicity in the Urban Landscape: The Archaeology of Creole New Orleans. In A. Young, ed., Archaeology of Southern Urban Landscapes. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 127-149.
1995 The Meherrin’s Secret History of the Dividing Line. North Carolina Historical Review. 72(4): 386-415.
2013 2013 Modern American Death: Grave Goods and Blithe Mementos. In Paul Graves-Brown, Rodney Harrison and Angela Piccini (eds.). Handbook of the Archaeology of the Contemporary World. Oxford University Press.