Isis Dwyer

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Florida, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10598

Approve Date

September 29, 2023

Project Title

Dwyer, Isis (Florida, U. of) "Emic Exceptions: Bioethnographic Departures from the Racial Typologies of Cranial Variation in the Anglophone Black Atlantic"

The representation of Afro-descendant populations in forensic anthropology as a single, homogenous, race is profoundly flawed, erasing genetic and morphological variation diverse populations, and neglecting native epistemologies of human variation in the global African Diaspora. As forensic anthropology confronts a legacy of racialization, this project proposes a novel model for examining cranial variation that situates the observed patterns of variance within the emic mythoi that describe them. Employing a geometric morphometric analysis of cranial shape integrated with a cognitive ethnography of self-identity and human variation, this research characterizes patterns of variance in Black U.S. and anglophone Afro-Caribbean populations to examine the influence of differential biosocial environments, and the relevant sociolinguistic constructions of race and ethnicity in a Afro-Caribbean community. The results of this research will contribute population-specific reference data for Afro-Caribbean populations towards the improved forensic identification of undocumented Afro-Caribbean decedents in the United States and improved accuracy for the forensic identification of Afro-Caribbean decedents in their home countries. Ultimately, through a bioethnography of cranial shape that privileges native epistemologies of identity and ancestry, this project imagines a forensic anthropology where anthropological knowledge is created in partnership with the communities we hope to serve.