Allysha Powanda Winburn

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

West Florida, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10277

Approve Date

April 13, 2022

Project Title

Winburn, Allysha (West Florida, U. of) "Visualizing Structural Vulnerability: Skeletal and Dental Evidence of Embodied Social Marginalization from Anonymized CT Imagery"

In segregated or oppressive societies, social marginalization can be embodied—literally incorporated into human bodies over a lifetime—with significant detrimental influences on health and wellbeing. Research in social epidemiology and medical anthropology links the embodiment of structural inequity with early mortality and increased morbidity. Bioarchaeological research indicates that inequity is embodied in hard tissues. Yet, forensic anthropologists have rarely used the lens of embodied inequity to examine contemporary human skeletal and dental variation—and never among U.S. groups. In this project, we will test for correlations between skeletal and dental evidence of acute stress, chronic stress, and premature aging (i.e., “weathering”; Geronimus 1992) and social race, biological sex, and socioeconomic status. We will use an open-access repository of CT imagery from identified but anonymized U.S. forensic cases including documentation provided for research by next of kin. Illuminating the skeletal and dental effects of lived inequity will: (1) clarify how experiences of suffering and marginalization, including racialized violence, are skeletally embodied; (2) inform the development of a ‘Structural Vulnerability Profile’ that will foreground investigations of social inequity in future bioanthropological analyses; thus (3) enabling analyses of modern U.S. skeletal variation to be situated outside of a racialized context altogether.