Department of Anthropology Ph.D. candidate Emily Milton, along with co-authors Dr. Jordi Rivera Prince of Brown University and Ph.D. candidate Melina Seabrook of Harvard University, have published an article in Bioarchaeology International. The article is titled “Reconciling Identity Narratives: Creating Collaborative Space with Isotopic Baselines.” The article provides a critical perspective on the use of isotopes for bioarchaeological identity studies.
Abstract: Isotopic methods have provided breakthrough insights into bioarchaeological identity studies, yet merit more critical theoretical perspectives. Inspired by and in conversation with intersectional feminist, Indigenous, and environmental literatures, we interrogate with and for whom such research is conducted. Potential inequities in bioarchaeological research using isotopes include the extractive and specialized nature of isotopic methods. Additionally, in the context of identity studies, Western notions of the individual may separate humans from nature, creating an artificial division between people and place. We propose isotopic baselines may create a more engaged practice by considering living human dynamics and place. Looking toward a more inclusive and equitable future for bioarchaeological and isotopic research, we propose ways to reduce power imbalances created by isotopic research. Ultimately, we suggest the collection and interpretation of environmental baseline data provide an opportunity to reconcile and expand conceptualizations of identity beyond the West.
Read the full article here: https://journals.upress.ufl.edu/bioarchaeology/article/view/2332