The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)


Searching for the Invisible People in the African Diaspora: Biocultural Perspectives

LESLEY M. RANKIN-HILL.

Anthropology, University of Oklahoma

Saturday Afternoon, 200DE Add to calendar

African People and those of African descent have been dispersed throughout the world in the past both within the continent and abroad. The primary focus of this poster is the research approaches necessary to examine the lives and experiences of these past African and African descent communities in the western hemisphere. Although a daunting task if taken as a whole, it is important to understand that the diverse African origins, multiple European powers, varied political economies, and historical trajectories pose both intriguing biocultural studies of human adaptations as well as problematic issues of theory and method. Each population must be examined and explored within the context that they are discovered in, yet the experiences and effects of involuntary migration, enslavement, and post-colonial societies bind them together. The approaches to this African Diasporic work is informed by Armelagos’ early ecological approaches to health and disease, his biocultural syntheses, and his commitment to seeing populations as people and not races. Several skeletal series (First African Baptist Church , Newton Plantation, Catoctin Furnace, New York African Burial Ground, Cedar Grove) including enslaved, emancipated, and freedmen populations will illustrate the approach or identify demographic, paleopathological issues.

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