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


Reflections on an Education in Biocultural Anthropology at Emory University

THEODORE G. SCHURR.

Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania

Saturday Afternoon, 200DE Add to calendar

In this presentation, I will briefly summarize the numerous contributions that George Armelagos has made to Biological Anthropology, particularly with regard to the issues of human biological diversity and race, human osteology, and epidemiological transitions, as well as discuss his influence on me as a scholar. While a doctoral student at Emory University, I had the pleasure of working with George during my graduate studies there. Like many students, I was attracted to the biocultural approach to anthropological research that Emory was developing in the early 1990s, and benefitted greatly from working with the Biological Anthropology faculty who instigated this program of study, especially George. Through our discussions, I came to greatly appreciate his contribution to human skeletal biology and paleopathology, his efforts to move beyond typological thinking in describing human diversity, his consideration of the role of both biological and cultural factors in shaping human dietary practices and disease history, and his use of insights from evolutionary anthropology to broaden public health understanding of different epidemiological issues. His work is a clear testament to the value of an interdisciplinary approach to the understanding of human biology, diversity and disease, an approach that I have attempted to infuse into my own research, and provides an important counterpoint to post-modern critiques of holistic and positivist approaches to studying anthropological phenomena.

The research described in this presentation was supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society, the National Institutes of Health, and the University of Pennsylvania.

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