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Virtual History Happy Hour – Race and Biological Anthropology

January 28 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Most anthropologists agree that there is no biological definition of “race” and yet the concept of race has guided research for centuries.  How does modern-day research “decolonize” this long-standing practice?

Dr. Rachel Watkins’ research focuses on the biological and social history of African Americans living in the 19th and 20th century urban US.  She began studying the health consequences of poverty and inequality through skeletal and documentary data analysis, with a focus on the W. Montague Cobb skeletal collection housed at Howard University. This unique anatomical collection is made up of DC residents who died in the city between 1930 and 1969. There is extensive cultural information associated with the collection that makes it ideal for examining various biocultural interrelationships.

This research led to Dr. Watkins’ broader interest in past and present studies of the human body as a ‘biological and social product’ within biological anthropology. Dr. Watkins will explain her use of African American skeletal remains and living bodies in the development of bioanthropological practices and racial formation.

Rachel Watkins is an associate professor of Anthropology at American University.  She received her Ph.D. From the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.  A key point that drives her research is the continued dearth of People of Color and other minority researchers in the field despite robust critiques of scientific racism.

The program will be moderated by Dr. Paul Scott.

Registration is required. You will receive a link to the virtual meeting with your registration confirmation email. You must be opted in to receive SSM emails to receive the confirmation.

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