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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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