Biocultural or biosocial anthropology is a research approach that views biology and culture as dialectically and inextricably intertwined, explicitly emphasizing the dynamic interaction between humans and their larger social, cultural, and physical environments. The biocultural approach emerged in anthropology in the 1960s, matured in the 1980s, and is now one of the dominant paradigms in anthropology, particularly within biological anthropology. This volume gathers contributions from the top scholars in biocultural anthropology focusing on six of the most influential, productive, and important areas of research within biocultural anthropology. These are: critical and synthetic approaches within biocultural anthropology; biocultural approaches to identity, including race and racism; health, diet, and nutrition; infectious disease from antiquity to the modern era; epidemiologic transitions and population dynamics; and inequality and violence studies. Focusing on these six major areas of burgeoning research within biocultural anthropology makes the proposed volume timely, widely applicable and useful to scholars engaging in biocultural research and students interested in the biocultural approach, and synthetic in its coverage of contemporary scholarship in biocultural anthropology. Students will be able to grasp the history of the biocultural approach, and how that history continues to impact scholarship, as well as the scope of current research within the approach, and the foci of biocultural research into the future. Importantly, contributions in the text follow a consistent format of a discussion of method and theory relative to a particular aspect of the above six topics, followed by a case study applying the surveyed method and theory. This structure will engage students by providing real world examples of anthropological issues, and demonstrating how biocultural method and theory can be used to elucidate and resolve them.
Key features include:
- Contributions which span the breadth of approaches and topics within biological anthropology from the insights granted through work with ancient human remains to those granted through collaborative research with contemporary peoples.
- Comprehensive treatment of diverse topics within biocultural anthropology, from human variation and adaptability to recent disease pandemics, the embodied effects of race and racism, industrialization and the rise of allergy and autoimmune diseases, and the sociopolitics of slavery and torture.
- Contributions and sections united by thematically cohesive threads.
- Clear, jargon–free language in a text that is designed to be pedagogically flexible: contributions are written to be both understandable and engaging to both undergraduate and graduate students.
- Provision of synthetic theory, method and data in each contribution.
- The use of richly contextualized case studies driven by empirical data.
- Through case–study driven contributions, each chapter demonstrates how biocultural approaches can be used to better understand and resolve real–world problems and anthropological issues.
A biocultural tribute to a biocultural scholar: Professor George J. Armelagos, May 22, 1936 May 15, 2014, 1Debra L. Martin & Molly K. Zuckerman
1 Introduction: the development of biocultural perspectives in anthropology, 7Molly K. Zuckerman & Debra L. Martin
The origins and development of the biocultural approach, 8
Using a biocultural model, 12
Difficulties in using the biocultural approach, 15
The case studies in this volume, 15
Part I: Critical and synthetic approaches to biocultural anthropology
2 Exploring biocultural concepts: anthropology for the next generation, 29R. Brooke Thomas
Case study: the Quechua of southern Peru, 1964 to the present, 31
3 Local nutrition in global contexts: critical biocultural perspectives on the nutrition transition in Mexico, 49Thomas L. Leatherman, Morgan K. Hoke & Alan H. Goodman
Case study: the coca–colonization of diet in the Yucatán, 54
Part II: Biocultural approaches to identity
4 Disease and dying while black: how racism, not race, gets under the skin, 69Alan H. Goodman
Case study: race versus racism, 81
Discussion and conclusion, 85
5 Beyond genetic race: biocultural insights into the causes of racial health disparities, 89Christopher W. Kuzawa & Clarence C. Gravlee
Case study #1: hypertension in the African Diaspora, 99
Case study #2: does the experience of racial discrimination in the United States have intergenerational health consequences?, 101
Discussion and conclusion, 101
6 Political economy of African forced migration and enslavement in colonial New York: an historical biology perspective, 107Michael L. Blakey & Lesley M. Rankin–Hill
Case study, 109
7 Identifying the First African Baptist Church: searching for historically invisible people, 133Lesley M. Rankin–Hill
Case study: Afro–American biohistory, 134
Part III: Biocultural approaches to health and diet
8 "Canaries in the mineshaft": the children of Kulubnarti, 159Paul A. Sandberg & Dennis P. van Gerven
Case study: Nubia and Kulubnarti, 160
9 Biocultural investigations of ancient Nubia, 181Brenda J. Baker
Case study: operationalizing a biocultural investigation: the Bioarchaeology of Nubia Expedition, 191
10 Life and death in nineteenth–century Peoria, Illinois: taking a biocultural approach towards understanding the past, 201Anne L. Grauer, Laura A. Williams & M. Catherine Bird
Case study: life and death in nineteenth–century Peoria, 203
11 Does industrialization always result in reduced skeletal robusticity?, 219Ann L. Magennis & Joshua G.S. Clementz
Case study: testing ideas about robusticity and industrialization, 225
12 Stable isotopes and selective forces: examples in biocultural and environmental anthropology, 241Christine D. White & Fred J. Longstaffe
Case study: isotopes and epidemiological risk factors/synergies at Wadi Halfa and surrounding regions, 247
Discussion and conclusion, 252
13 The cuisine of prehispanic Central Mexico reconsidered: the "omnivore s dilemma" revisited, 259Randolph J. Widmer & Rebecca Storey
Case study: prehispanic cuisine of Central Mexico, 263
Part IV: Biocultural approaches to infectious disease
14 The specter of Ebola: epidemiologic transitions versus the zombie apocalypse, 279Ronald Barrett
Case study: Ebola and the epidemiological transitions, 282
Discussion and conclusion, 290
15 Beyond the differential diagnosis: new approaches to the bioarchaeology of the Hittite plague, 295Nicole E. Smith–Guzmán, Jerome C. Rose & Kathleen Kuckens
Case study: investigating the cause of the Hittite plague, 297
Discussion and conclusion, 313
16 Paleoepidemiological and biocultural approaches to ancient disease: the origin and antiquity of syphilis, 317Molly K. Zuckerman & Kristin N. Harper
Case study: biocultural and paleoepidemiological approaches to the origin and antiquity of syphilis, 324
Part V: Biocultural approaches to understanding population dynamics
17 Population and disease transitions in the Åland Islands, Finland, 339James H. Mielke
Case study: Åland archipelago, 346
18 The hygiene hypothesis and the second epidemiologic transition: using biocultural, epidemiological, and evolutionary theory to inform practice in clinical medicine and public health, 363Molly K. Zuckerman, Jonathan R. Belanich & George J. Armelagos
Case study: applying the hygiene hypothesis to practice in public health and clinical medicine, 373
Discussion and conclusion, 377
19 An emerging history of indigenous Caribbean and circum–Caribbean populations: insights from archaeological, ethnographic, genetic, and historical studies, 385Theodore G. Schurr, Jada Benn Torres, Miguel G. Vilar, Jill B. Gaieski & Carlalynne Melendez
Case study: exploring Caribbean genetic history, 387
20 Explorations in paleodemography: an overview of the Artificial Long House Valley agent–based modeling project, 403Alan C. Swedlund, Lisa Sattenspiel, Amy Warren, Richard S. Meindl & George J. Gumerman III
Case study: the Artificial Long House Valley (ALHV) Project models, 408
Part VI: Biocultural approaches to inequality and violence 21 Biocultural perspectives in bioarchaeology, 429
Bethany L. Turner & Haagen D. Klaus
Case study: understanding European contact in the Americas, 437
22 The poetics of violence in bioarchaeology: Integrating social theory with trauma analysis, 453Ventura R. Pérez
Case study: the Sierra de Mazatán massacre, 458
23 Broken bodies and broken bones: Biocultural approaches to ancient slavery and torture, 471Debra L. Martin & Anna J. Osterholtz
Case study: slavery and torture in the prehispanic Southwest, 475
Part VII: The next generation
24 Concluding thoughts: a bright future for students trained in using a biocultural perspective, 493Debra L. Martin & Molly K. Zuckerman
Teaching, pedagogy, and ethics, 494
The past as a guide, 496
A bright future for biocultural scholarship, 496
Molly K. Zuckerman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures at Mississippi State University. The author of numerous peer–reviewed publications employing the biocultural approach, Dr Zuckerman also teaches graduate and undergraduate introductory courses in anthropology and biological anthropology, osteology, diet and nutrition, and human behavior and disease.
Debra L. Martin is the UNLV Barrick Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her expertise is in the biocultural approach as it can be applied to understanding poor health, inequality and violence. She has published four co–edited volumes, three co–authored volumes, and over 100 chapters and peer–reviewed articles on biocultural approaches in anthropology.