Alanna Warner (left) and Lauren Hosek (right), both graduate students at Syracuse University, were awarded the 2014 Biological Anthropology Section Student Prize. Warner and Hosek co-organized a symposium at the 2014 AAAs entitled, “The Bones and the Worms: Bioarchaeology as Microhistory.” The session brought together experts from across the breadth of bioarchaeology to examine how details of individual lives can be gleaned from bioarchaeological material. Within the symposium, Warner and Hosek presented their own paper, “Enamel, Stone, and Gold: Probing Composite Mouths and Personhood in Nineteenth Century New York City.” In this paper, Warner and Hosek explored how different dental prostheses provide a window into the way individual remains integrate intimate personal, but also broader, contextual experience. The complete abstract can be seen below:
Enamel, Stone, and Gold: Probing Composite Mouths and Personhood in Nineteenth Century New York City
Alanna Warner (Syracuse University) and Lauren Hosek (Syracuse University)
Bodies are not closed systems, but rather dynamic and permeable social entities composed of multiple materials and temporalities. As Ingold notes, bodies are “flow(s) of materials comprising corporeal life” (2011:16). Expressions of identity and formations of personhood are relational, generated and distributed through social interactions and material things. While this sense of relational, extended personhood is well attended to in prehistoric archaeology, historical archaeologists have engaged less with theories of personhood and tend to rely more on modern Western notions of bounded individuals and bodies (Wilkinson 2013; Fowler 2010). In this paper, we examine 19th century dental prostheses—a stone tooth, a gold bridge, and gold fillings—found with commingled skeletal remains in the Spring Street Presbyterian Church burial vaults (ca. 1820-1846) in New York City. A microhistorical analysis of these prostheses demonstrates how objects and substances are incorporated into bodies, becoming part of the overlapping processes and temporalities that make up corporeal life. The mouth is an especially active social interface where materials with biological and geological histories of their own intersect with experiences, habits, and practices. We examine the microscale entanglements of class, gender, medical practices, and ideologies of morality and aesthetics in the dynamic social landscape of 19th century New York City. Finally, we consider how the relational nature of bodies and materials allows personhood to be experienced, performed, and extended through a smile, a stone, or a glint of gold.
Adam Van Arsdale, biological anthropologist at Wellesley College and author of the Pleistocene Scene blog, wrote this fantastic blog post about the benefits of attending the AAA meetings as a BAS member. He writes, “The AAAs, despite their size, offer a unique ‘meeting within a meeting’ experience” because of the close group of biological anthropologists who congregate there. He ends the post with this call:
Now is the time to start thinking about panels you might be interested in putting together for next year’s meetings which will be in Denver, and I am the person to get in touch with for feedback on those ideas. The AAAs are valuable, but overwhelming. But the BAS portion of the AAAs?… they are free to be shaped in ways that create a degree of academic intimacy hard to achieve in larger settings. And if you are a biological anthropologist inclined towards the holistic view of anthropology, the BAS is an invaluable professional network and set of colleagues.
Read the full post here, and contact Adam at avanarsd(at)wellesley(dot)edu with ideas for next year!
H/T Rebecca J. Ferrell, the new Biological Anthropology Program Director for NSF, for submitting this solicitation to the BAS website:
“As part of NSF’s Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering (CIF21) activity, the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) seeks to develop user-friendly large-scale next-generation data resources and relevant analytic techniques to advance fundamental research in SBE areas of study. Successful proposals will, within the financial resources provided by the award, construct such databases and/or relevant analytic techniques and produce a finished product that will enable new types of data-intensive research. The databases or techniques should have significant impacts, either across multiple fields or within broad disciplinary areas, by enabling new types of data-intensive research in the SBE sciences.”
Are you a student? Are you giving a presentation at the AAA meetings? Are you interested in positive exposure with colleagues in your field (and $250!)?
Then apply now for the BAS student prize!
- Send an email to Adam Van Arsdale
- Include your name, presentation title, abstract, and presentation time/session
- Make sure it is received no later than November 14, 2014.
To learn more about your eligibility and the rules, click here. See last year’s winners featured here.
Nominations Due: May 1 to Suzanne Mattingly, AAA CoGEA Liaison at email@example.com.
The CoGEA Award (formerly known as the Squeaky Wheel Award), sponsored by the AAA Committee on Gender Equity in Anthropology (CoGEA), recognizes individuals whose service to the discipline, and the collective spirit of whose research, teaching and mentoring, demonstrates the courage to bring to light and investigate practices in anthropology that are potentially sexist and discriminatory based on gender presentation.
Continue reading 2014 CoGEA Award Call for Nominees
As the co-editors of the AFA’s (Association for Feminist Anthropology) Anthropology News section notes, we are looking for submissions for both in print and online columns. This is a great opportunity to share your research with the readers of AN and support feminist research in humanities and social sciences!
There are no limitations on themes. Any contribution/report that focuses on feminist anthropological concerns and/or employs feminist research methodology is welcome.
Continue reading CFP: AFA column
The winner of the BAS Student Paper/Poster Award for 2013 is Marc Kissel (University of Wisconsin, Madison) for his paper, “Testing Genetic Models of Human Evolutionary History against the Anthropological Record.”
Comparing measurements of supraorbital skeletal features from two Neandertal populations (Vindjia and Krapina), Kissel explores whether genetic drift or natural selection best explains observed morphological variability. Having found that observed variability cannot be explained by drift alone, he suggests that closer attention be paid to human reproductive behavior as illustrated in ethnographic record of hunter-gatherer communities, and that effective population size may not be a good indicator of census size in the Pleistocene.
Honorable mention for this prize went to Jill E. Scott (University of Iowa) for her paper, “A 3-D Morphometric Analysis of Mandibular Symphyseal Variation in Homo.”
In this paper, Jill Scott tests whether various measurements of chin morphology can be used to successfully differentiate H. sapiens, H. neanderthalensis, and H. heidelbergensis. Using Principal Component Analysis, she finds that H. sapiens separate from both Neandertals and H. heidelbergensis along PC1. However along PC2, H. sapiens group with Neandertals to the exclusion of H. heidelbergensis. In this study, she explores new ways to measure and statistically test morphological differences that have been explored primarily in a qualitative manner in the literature.
BAS Student Representative Sarah Livengood initiated an informative survey to investigate the barriers to student participation in AAA. Eighty percent of 113 respondents indicated that they had never attended a AAA meeting. In large part this is because students don’t feel they have anything to present, but the cost of membership and registration is also an important factor. Students also indicated that they would be very interested in mentorship programs and sessions on professionalization. BAS is committed to engaging biological anthropology students in the broader discipline of anthropology and in AAA activities in particular and this preliminary survey sets the stage for future action.
BAS members are invited to submit pieces to the AAA Writers Circle. As explained at the link below, this is a project meant to encourage anthropologists to write op-eds and magazine articles, and to engage in other ways with public media:
This is an opportunity for biological anthropologists to convey the importance of our science to broad audiences. Please feel free to contact Dr. Barbara J. King about this.
The winner of the BAS Student Paper/Poster Award for 2012 is Michaela Howells (University of Colorado, Boulder) for her paper, “You Just Have to Wait: The Impact of Marital Status on the Pregnancy Outcomes of Samoan Women” with co-authors Richard Bender, Darna L. Dufour, John Ah Ching, and Bethal Mua’sau.
Julienne Rutherford has been selected as a AAA Leadership Fellow
We are very pleased to announce the winner of this year’s student prize for outstanding presentation:
Meredith Ellis (Syracuse University) for her paper, “A Disciplined Childhood: A Social Bioarchaeology of the Subadults of the Spring Street Presbyterian Church”. This paper is going to be published in an edited volume by Jennifer L. Thompson, Marta Alfonso-Durruty, John J. Crandall, “Tracing Childhood: Bioarchaeological Investigations of Early Lives in Antiquity”.
We are also pleased to announce a runner-up:
Valentine Volk (Cleveland State University), for her paper, “A Preliminary Assessment of Health and Disease at the Late Woodland Mayer Site, Vermillion, Ohio”.
The 2011 W.W. Howells Book Award was presented to Wenda Trevathan for her book, Ancient Bodies, Modern Lives: How Evolution Has Shaped Women’s Health. Oxford University Press.
The book was recognized as an insightful and compelling consideration of the importance of evolution to women’s biology and health.
“Written by a leading light in the field of evolutionary medicine, Wenda Trevathan’s Ancient Bodies, Modern Lives describes how many contemporary health problems, particularly those of women, are the result of a mismatch between our “Stone Age” bodies that evolved over millions of years and our current (and radically changed) life styles. Thorough, authoritative, and easy to understand, this book offers suggestions for making informed decisions that impact the health of contemporary women and that of their children and their children’s children. Run, don’t walk (or stroll bipedally), to give this important and elegantly written book to your favorite bride-to-be, mother-to-be, mother, grandmother, or great grandmother! Inquisitive men will also find this book engaging.” –Dean Falk, Ph.D., Hale G. Smith Professor of Anthropology, Florida State University.
The American Anthropological Association invites minority doctoral candidates from any subfield in anthropology to apply for a dissertation writing fellowship of $10,000.
Deadline: February 15th 2011.
Follow this link for details.
BAS 2010 student award winners:
Allison Foley (paper)
DISABILITY AND DISEASE IN THE ANCIENT MIDWEST: A PALEOPATHOLOGICAL ANALYSIS OF THE MORTON SITE, IL Continue reading 2010 AAA BAS Student Paper/Poster Award Results
BAS Executive Committee communication on AAA Mission Statement:
Download as PDF
The above is the official BAS response.
Some members and other biological anthropologists also composed and sent this letter to the Executive Board of the AAA.
109th Annual Meeting was held in New Orleans, November 17-21, 2010.
The Distinguished Lecture was given by Ken Weiss: “What Darwin got wrong and why it matters.”
The 2010 WW Howells Award winner is Bernard Chapais (University of Montreal) for his book, Primeval Kinship: How Pair-Bonding Gave Birth to Human Society.
List of sessions of interest to BAS members:
- Innovative Methods in Biological Anthropology
- Circulating Through Us: Violence, Trauma and Memory
- Critical Collisions in Health and Culture: Sleep
- Ancient Humans: Birth, Health and Lifestyle
- Biocultural Acts, Biocultural Survival
- Biocultural Adaptation and Evolution: Guts, Diet and Microbes