Crooks Receives Boas Distinguished Achievement Award

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By Jenny Wells

Deborah Crooks, emerita associate professor of anthropology in the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences, has been awarded the 2017 Franz Boas Distinguished Achievement Award by the Human Biology Association (HBA). The award honors members of the association for exemplary contribution to human biology in science, scholarship and professional service.

A biocultural anthropologist, Crooks’ research has focused on nutritional anthropology, livelihoods and food/nutrition security, the political-economy of child growth, the biology of inequality and human adaptability in Belize, Eastern Kentucky and Zambia. She combines theory and methods from biological and cultural anthropology to address these issues, using quantitative and qualitative data. Her research has been supported by numerous National Science Foundation (NSF) grants and she has authored many high-impact scholarly articles. Her work is often cited as an exemplar of biocultural research in human biology.

“I am honored to receive the 2017 Boas Award from the Human Biology Association," Crooks said. "It has been my privilege to be a member of the HBA since graduate school — first as a student member, then as an elected fellow. The HBA is my intellectual home; it is the one place I come each year to share ideas and research with colleagues similarly engaged in interdisciplinary scholarship on the human condition — in all its sameness and all its diversity. I am truly honored to receive this award."

Franz Boas is considered the founder of American anthropology, and made significant contributions to the field of human biology. Challenging early concepts of race and typology, Boas’ studies on eastern and southern European migrants to the United States made him the first scientist to argue for developmental plasticity. The award in his name is presented annually to a leading figure in the profession.

The award was presented to Crooks at the HBA's 42nd annual meeting on April 20 in New Orleans.

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