Alysha Justine Lieurance

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Pittsburgh, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10613

Approve Date

September 29, 2023

Project Title

Lieurance, Alysha (Pittsburgh, U. of) "Who’s in the White? Health, European Immigration, and White Racialization in 19th and 20th Century America"

The early 20th century in the United States was a period marked by eugenic notions of progress and a preoccupation with who should be allowed to participate and procreate in U.S. society. Immigration legislation, public health language, aid societies, and more leveraged varying definitions of whiteness to ensure the creation of a healthy and predominantly white U.S. population. Physical anthropologists and anatomists during this time created human skeletal collections, like the Hamman-Todd osteological collection, to gather biological evidence of racial differences and further these goals. Identified skeletal collections have predominantly served as a testing ground for forensic methods and medical studies, but critical analysis of their construction can reveal the bio/necropolitical goals underpinning their formation. The health of European Immigrants, whose inclusion within the white racial category shifted over time and across institutions, can be used to understand how these political goals become embodied in people. Paleopathological data, like trauma and disease lesions, when carefully contextualized using archival data, can reveal the material consequences of state-enabled and enacted inequality. This project re-associates the skeletal individuals within the Hamann-Todd collection with archival documents to reconstitute the individual lives and health of European Immigrants and US-born white individuals in Progressive Era Cleveland.