Intersectionality and trauma analysis in bioarchaeology Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Intersectionality, the theory named by KimberlĂ© Crenshaw, outlines how multiple elements of an individual's social identity overlap to create and preserve societal inequalities and discrimination. Recently bioarchaeology's engagement with intersectionality has become increasingly explicit, as the field recognizes the lived experience of multiple axes of an individual's identity. Evidence of trauma can remain observable in an individual's skeleton for years, making it an ideal subject of study for intersectional analyses in bioarchaeology. Using contrasting case studies of two individuals who died in hospitals and were unclaimed after death, we explore the theoretical and methodological application of intersectionality to investigations of accidental and interpersonal trauma. Differences in identities and structural inequalities affect bone quality and health outcomes. As we demonstrate, a broken bone is the intersecting result of biological, histomorphological, sociocultural, and behavioral factors. This approach allows for a better acknowledgement of the inherent complexity of past lives, elevating and amplifying previously silenced voices. In this way, intersectionality in bioarchaeology demands social justice.

publication date

  • April 2021