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This volume uses bioarchaeological remains to examine the complexities and diversity of past socio-sexual lives. This book does not begin with the presumption that certain aspects of sex, gender, and sexuality are universal and longstanding. Rather, the case studies within-extend from Neolithic Europe to pre-Columbian Mesoamerica to the nineteenth-century United States-highlight the importance of culturally and historically contextualizing socio-sexual beliefs and practices. The Bioarchaeology of Socio-Sexual Lives highlights a major shortcoming in many scholarly and popular presentations of past socio-sexual lives. They reveal little about the ancient or historic group under study and much about Western society's modern state of heteronormative affairs. To interrogate commonsensical thinking about socio-sexual identities and interactions, this volume draws from critical feminist and queer studies. Reciprocally, bioarchaeological studies extend social theorizing about sex, gender, and sexuality that emphasizes the modern, conceptual, and discursive. Ultimately, The Bioarchaeology of Socio-Sexual Lives invites readers to think more deeply about humanity's diversity, the naturalization of culture, and the past's presentation in mass-media communications.
About the Author
Pamela Geller is an assistant professor at the University of Miami (Coral Gables, FL) where she teaches in the Department of Anthropology and the Program in Women's and Gender Studies. She is also co-convener of the Queer Studies Research Group, an interdisciplinary research group supported by UM's Center for the Humanities. She is strongly committed to a study of the past that is inter- and intra-disciplinary. Her research interests include anthropological bioarchaeology and biohistory, feminist and queer studies, the materiality of identity, and thesocio-politics of archaeology. In bringing these areas of interest together, she investigates the role of bodily change in identity formation, focusing on markers resultant from intention (e.g, . cranial shaping, violent trauma) or habitual physical activities. She also examines modifications in conjunction with biological data (e.g., age, sex, health) and social information culled from burials, iconography, ethnohistory, and ethnography. Contextualized biocultural data indicate how past peoples literally embodied social identities that were culturally contingent, mutable, and complex.