Shannon Lee Dawdy (rhymes with ‘bawdy’) is a trained archaeologist, anthropologist, and historian. She received her PhD in anthropology and history from the University of Michigan in 2003. Born and raised in rural California, she has also lived in Spain, Virginia, Louisiana, and Mexico.

Dawdy is best known for her archaeological work in the French Quarter of New Orleans and for her writing on the American experience. In 2010, she was made a MacArthur Fellow.

With co-director and cinematographer Daniel Zox, Dawdy wrote and produced a short documentary film called I Like Dirt. about contemporary American death practices, the same topic as her third book, American Afterlives. In addition to her books and edited volumes, she has published dozens of articles in academic and popular venues. Her work has been covered by the New York Times, Science, the New Orleans Times Picayune, and Archaeology Magazine. She currently teaches at the University of Chicago and talks to her cat while cooking.