The Center for Comparative Archaeology sponsors an ongoing seminar for faculty and students on varied themes in comparative archaeological research on long-term social change. The seminar is led by a team that includes the Visiting Scholar, whose research theme provides its focus each year. It meets every three or four weeks through the entire academic year. It can be taken for credit as a complete graduate seminar by enrolling in ANTH 2536: Special Topics in Comparative Archaeology I (1 credit) in the Fall Term and ANTH 2537: Special Topics in Comparative Archaeology II (2 credits) in the Spring Term. Since the topic changes each year, the seminar can be taken for credit more than once. In 2016-2017 the seminar is led by Jess Beck and Liz Arkush: Inequality and the Body in Archaeology and Bioarchaeology. More Information >
The seminar uses a bioarchaeological lens to explore the ways in which social inequalities manifest in the human body, weaving together contributions from ethnography, material culture studies, and mortuary archaeology to 'flesh out' studies of human remains. We will examine how particular aspects of social identity (e.g. gender, childhood) amplify or diminish inequalities in different contexts. We will also read a range of case studies that illustrate how trajectories of increasing social inequality vary over time and space, examining how large-scale social processes (e.g. aggregation, warfare, colonialism) impact human bodies. Overall, the seminar will analyze how social inequalities become embodied in human skeletal remains while also being shaped by social, ecological, and economic factors.
The seminar meets on selected Fridays at 12:00 in the Anthropology Lounge. All are welcome to come participate in the conversation, whether formally enrolled or not. Meeting topics for Spring Term:
January 13: Seeds of Change: Agriculture, sedentism, and health.
February 10: Disease and Depopulation in the Americas.
March 3: Sacrifice in Ancient States.
April 7: Post-Mortem Manipulation of the Deceased.