Date of Award

2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

First Advisor

John Albanese

Keywords

biological anthropology, critical discourse analysis, forensic anthropology, gender, osteology, sex

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

For the forensic anthropologist, the estimation of sex comprises the first step in the process of identification of human skeletal remains. This study employs the use of third-wave and post-structural feminist, and queer theories in order to analyze how processes of inequality interact with our understanding of human biolologies, specifically surrounding the notions of sex and gender, and to assess the impacts of these inequalities on the methodologies and discourses in the discipline. Through the use of critical discourse analysis, I demonstrate how forensic anthropology ideologically conceives of sexual difference in four ways: 1) as reducible to only biology; 2) as natural, a given distinguishable by genotypic and phenotypic traits; 3) as classifiable into binary oppositions, where ambiguity refers to a researcher's degree of certainty and not sex-gender fluidity; and 4) as static and unchanging.

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