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Studies in Forensic Biohistory: Anthropological Perspectives

  • Brings together scholarship on a variety of biohistorical cases at different scales of historical significance, and includes a thorough synthesis of the biohistorical literature
  • Examines the ethical implications of biohistorical research, exploring questions about 'legitimate' research, permission, and the rights and interests of the deceased
  • Provides a reflexive look at the practice of forensic biohistory, critically analyzing methods and approaches used in a variety of cases

Series: Cambridge Studies in Biological and Evolutionary Anthropology

By: Christopher M Stojanowski(Editor), William N Duncan(Editor)

338 pages, 76 b/w photos and b/w illustrations, 7 tables

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Apr 2017 | #232059 | ISBN-13: 9781107073548
Availability: In stock
NHBS Price: £64.99 $84/€71 approx

About this book

The lives of kings, poets, authors, criminals and celebrities are a perpetual fascination in the media and popular culture, and for decades anthropologists and other scientists have participated in 'post-mortem dissections' of the lives of historical figures. In this field of biohistory, researchers have identified and analyzed these figures' bodies using technologies such as DNA fingerprinting, biochemical assays, and skeletal biology. Studies in Forensic Biohistory brings together biohistorical case studies for the first time, and considers the role of the anthropologist in the writing of historical narratives surrounding the deceased. Contributors theorize biohistory with respect to the sociology of the body, examining the ethical implications of biohistorical work and the diversity of social theoretical perspectives that researchers' work may relate to. Studies in Forensic Biohistory defines scales of biohistorical engagement, providing readers with a critical sense of scale and the different paths to 'historical notoriety' that can emerge with respect to human remains.


List of contributors

1. Defining an anthropological biohistorical research agenda: the history, scale, and scope of an emerging discipline Christopher M. Stojanowski and William N. Duncan
2. Autopsy of past leaders: what remains tell us about them? Philippe Charlier
3. Game of thrones: Richard III and the creation of cultural heritage Richard Toon and Laurie Stone
4. The search for Don Francisco de Paula Marin: servant, friend, and advisor to King Kamehameha I, Kingdom of Hawaii Michael Pietrusewsky, Michele Toomay Douglas, Rona M. Ikehara-Quebral and Conrad Mac Goodwin
5. Unearthing Robert Kennicott: naturalist, explorer, Smithsonian scientist Karin S. Bruwelheide, Sandra S. Schlachtmeyer, Douglas W. Owsley, Vicki E. Simon, Arthur C. Aufderheide, Larry W. Cartmell and Stephan J. Swanson
6. The influence of the law on the post-mortem narratives of unknown human remains Ryan M. Seidemann
7. The biohistory of prehistory: mummies and the forensic creation of identity Kenneth C. Nystrom
8. Talking heads and other specters of the Mountain Meadows Massacre Shannon A. Novak
9. Facial reconstruction of famous historical figures – between science and art Laura Buti, Giorgio Gruppioni and Stefano Benazzi
10. The probabilistic basis for identifying individuals in biohistorical research Lyle W. Konigsberg and Lee Meadows Jantz
11. Known unknowns: forensic science, the nation-state, and the iconic dead Sarah Wagner and Adam Rosenblatt
12. The biohistory of atrocity and the social life of human remains Claire Moon
13. Ethical issues in biohistory: NO easy answers! Jane E. Buikstra
14. Theoretical facets of biohistorical research William N. Duncan and Christopher M. Stojanowski


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Christopher M. Stojanowski is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Arizona State University. His bioarchaeological work focuses on dental anthropology, the colonial southeastern US, and early and middle Holocene North Africa and North America.

William N. Duncan is an Associate Professor in Biological Anthropology and Archaeology at East Tennessee State University. His research focuses on Mesoamerican cultures and dental anthropology.

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