Inequality and the Body in Archaeology and Bioarchaeology

Bibliographic Information

Course Title

Inequality and the Body in Archaeology and Bioarchaeology


Jess Beck; Elizabeth Arkush

Institution Where Taught

University of Pittsburgh

Semester or Date Taught

Fall 2016/Spring 2017

Web Address (URL)

Additional Information

Course Number

ANTH 2536/ANTH 2537

Course Level

Course Description

This seminar uses a bioarchaeological lens to explore the ways in which social inequalities manifest in the human body, weaving together contributions from ethnography, material culture studies, and mortuary archaeology to ‘flesh out’ studies of human remains. We will examine how particular aspects of social identity (e.g. gender, childhood) amplify or diminish inequalities in different contexts. We will also read a range of case studies that illustrate how trajectories of increasing social inequality vary over time and space, examining how large-scale social processes (e.g. aggregation, warfare, colonialism) impact human bodies. Overall, the course will analyze how social inequalities become embodied in human skeletal remains while also being shaped by social, ecological, and economic factors.

Syllabus Available



Jess Beck has provided a PDF version of this syllabus on her blog, Bone Broke, along with a discussion of the course.


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CIfA Codes

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