Chicago Assistant Professor Gets Genius Grant | WBEZ
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Chicago Assistant Professor Gets Genius Grant

A major Chicago foundation announced its annual list of so-called geniuses today. An University of Chicago assistant professor made the cut.

The John D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation awarded 23 fellows half-a-million dollars for what it calls originality and dedication to creative pursuits.

The foundation named Shannon Lee Dawdy a genius for using historical preservation to highlight the history of the Atlantic World.

Dawdy says her recent work includes an excavation project in New Orleans' French Quarter.

DAWDY: If we go back and look at the other possibilities of the past, the trajectory's not completed, I think we can find inspiration for how to re-invent ourselves today.

Dawdy got the news more than a week ago that she made the genius list, but she had to keep it a secret until today.

DAWDY: You can only tell one person. So I told my husband and we've kept it a nervous secret since then.

Dawdy says she'd like to use some of the grant money to continue her fieldwork in New Orleans.

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