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Luckhardt Chosen as USM’s Mississippi Humanities Teacher of the Year

Mon, 02/10/2020 - 12:49pm | By: David Tisdale

Dr. Courtney LuckhardtDr. Courtney Luckhardt, an assistant professor of history at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM), is the institution’s recipient of the Mississippi Humanities Council Teacher of the Year award. 

In conjunctions with the honor, Dr. Luckhardt will deliver a lecture entitled "Medievalism: The Uses of the Middle Ages in the Modern World" Feb. 18 at 5 p.m. in Gonzales Auditorium (Liberal Art Building room 108) on the USM Hattiesburg campus. This free event includes a reception to follow, and members of the USM community and general public are invited. 

Luckhardt joined the USM History program faculty in 2014. Her research focuses on the history of the early Middle Ages, and she teaches on all aspects of the period (500-1500 CE). In her scholarly endeavors, both as a researcher and classroom instructor, Dr. Luckhardt seeks to understand and explain ideas about power, holiness, identity, and mobility during the transformation of the Roman world in the global Middle Ages. 

Her first book came out last fall, The Charisma of Distant Places: Travel and Religion in the Early Middle Ages (London: Routledge, 2019) in which Dr. Luckhardt explores migration through an examination of religious movement to reveal the diversity of religious travel, from the voluntary journeys of pilgrims to the forced travel of Christian slaves. 

“I’m honored to be chosen for this recognition. I find working with the students here at Southern Miss to be the most rewarding part of my job as a professor,” Dr. Luckhardt said. “When I introduce them to the premodern world, we sometimes study some controversial topics, as medieval views of the nature of just war, the treatment of women and minorities, or the development of good government were very different from modern Western views of these topics. 

“Asking students to grapple with beliefs that today would be considered racist or classist, or even barbaric, allows them to step outside their own worldview to another time and culture. It’s the job of medieval historians like myself, who both research and teach on this subject, to make the Middle Ages accessible and relevant, but also to contradict false and simplistic narratives about the pre-modern past. After all, pre-modern people were still people, with the same joys and griefs that peoples of every time and culture have felt.” 

Jordan Wesley, a senior USM history major from Hattiesburg, said Dr Luckhardt “has guided me in making the right decisions for myself academically, and helped me in figuring out what it means to be a young adult, woman in academia.

“She is always someone whom I have looked up to during my time at Southern Miss, and I and the university are so lucky to have her,” Wesley said.

The USM History program is housed in its College of Arts and Sciences’ School of Humanities. For more information about Dr. Luckhardt’s work at USM, visit