Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

First Advisor

John Albanese


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



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


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.