Samantha Marie Archer
Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationConnecticut, U. of
Grant numberGr. 10091
Approve DateApril 8, 2021
Project TitleArcher, Samantha (Connecticut, U. of) "Investigating the genetic effects of state-sanctioned violence in 19th century Texas"
Calls for the abolition of prisons and police gained unprecedented traction this summer after the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. The American Public Health Association not only recently classified the carceral system as a public health concern, but specifically named the abolition of the prison-industrial complex as the solution. In a time hailed as historical, it is more critical than ever to understand how we got here and who and what we were meant to forget. My project traces the molecular archives of the formation of the modern carceral state by employing critical biocultural methods to grapple with the lives and afterlives of individuals in19th century Texas. I will investigate their lived experiences through multiple lines of evidence: ethnohistorical, archival, genealogical, archaeological, and paleogenomic. By situating these data in dialogue with critical Black and Indigenous studies, theories of the archive, Black feminist archaeology, and anthropological theories of embodiment and experience, I aim to understand the ways in which we not only live with the ruins and legacies of slavery and settler colonialism, but also the modern carceral state as a primary technology through which the violent structures the United States was founded on mutate and resurge materially.