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Distinguished Lectures

Fall 2015 Distinguished Lecturer

Debra Martin

Debra Martin
Lincy Professor of Anthropology
University of Nevada-Las Vegas


Hard Times in Dry Lands: Apocalypse in the Ancient Southwest or Business as Usual?  

XLI JAR Distinguished Lecture

The bioarchaeological record has an abundance of scientific evidence using skeletal indicators of trauma to argue for a long history of internal and external group conflict in the ancient Southwest. However, the findings suggest variability, nuance and unevenness in the type, use and meaning of violence and therefore defy simple generalizations. Documenting human behavior during particularly challenging changes in the ancient Southwest has revealed both unique and patterned responses with respect to the use of warfare and violence, migration and social reorganization. By using fine-grained biocultural analyses that interrogate trauma data in particular places at particular times in reconstructed archaeological contexts, a more comprehensive and nuanced view into the histories and experiences of Southwestern people emerges. This has applicability to thinking about the effects of climate change in arid environments today.

Thursday, September 24, 2015
7:30 pm in Anthropology Room 163
Free and open to the public.


Bodies as Battlefields: Culturally-Sanctioned and Gendered Forms of Violence in Ancient America

Specialized Seminar

A hallmark of modern bioarchaeology is its commitment to a holistic and theoretical approach.  The biocultural synthesis has indelibly shaped bioarchaeological research and has challenged scholars to reconsider the ultimate causes of gendered health disparities, and to situate trauma, violence, disease, mortality and morbidity data within broader social and political contexts. Culturally sanctioned violence often has gendered components to it in modern times, and bioarchaeological studies demonstrate that this was the case in the past as well.  By integrating human skeletal remains, ecological data and contextual information regarding the social and political factors relevant to each case study, violence against women is seen as an institutionalized form of social control.  Case studies presented can advance discussions of how politically motivated inequality causes pain and suffering, and how this in turn motivates various forms of resistance and agency in some cases and compliance and subordination in others. 

Friday September 25, 2015
Noon in Anthropology Room 248
Free and open to the public.


Style Guide[PDF] for JAR References now available on the Manuscript/Author page.

Now available: Re-issue of Vol. 53, no. 3, 1997

Human Rights vs. Cultural Relativity with guest editors Carole Nagengast and Terence Turner

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Department of Anthropology