2023 CABA-ACAB Annual Meeting

2023 Symposia

Innovation and technology forensic anthropology/archaeology

A critical applied sub-field of biological anthropology is to assist with forensic identification for medico-legal death investigations, disasters, migration crises. With technology and innovation, the field is seeing unprecedented growth and application scope. In the symposium we are looking for research across the breadth for forensic anthropology including but not limited to, 3D imaging, standards improvement, machine learning, stable isotopes, genetics, and taphonomy. The aim is to discuss how innovation and technology are improving forensic identification and outcomes, even if only theoretically.  

Chair: Victoria Gibbon

Restitution and rematriation/repatriation in biological anthropology: Defining and realising ethical practice, restoration of justice, return and redress.  

Biological Anthropology has been built on colonial ideas and practices, and has produced colonial legacy collections. Reconciling with the past of our discipline is recognition that human skeletal repositories are predominately from indigenous, colonised and subjugated peoples. These collections were obtained and studied without consent. Records associated with these repositories are often incomplete, and sometimes non-existent, which adds complexity to source community and descendent identification (usually the first step towards restitution or rematriation/repatriation). These processes of return differ globally and involve a complex and interesting range of considerations posed by population movement and complex socio-political histories that include subjugation and acculturation. These processes are often guided by international, national and provincial legislation. Globally, there are efforts to grapple with these colonial legacies and range of circumstances, and to acknowledge the impact physical anthropology had on communities and groups of people. There is a drive for the sub-discipline to be more respectful and ethically responsible to both the living and their ancestors. This symposium will engage with these processes through a discourse on research and activism, opening a discussion on key considerations, responsibilities, and potential solutions in the spirit of reconciliation and restoration of justice. Topics include respectful and appropriate stewardship of human remains and sacred objects in institutions, restitution, rematriation/repatriation, reconciliation, redress, restorative justice, grave protection, and reburial considerations.

Chairs: Julia Gamble and Victoria Gibbon

Creating A Socially Responsive Practice in Biological Anthropology

Although most biological anthropologists have long recognized the colonial foundation of the discipline, many aspects of colonialism, including racism, white supremacy, and heteronormativity, still permeate the discipline, continuing violence against BIPOCs, members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, woman, and persons with disabilities. This symposium questions who biological anthropology serves by examining the ways we can support a socially responsive practice from the classroom to the field and beyond. Speakers from various backgrounds will highlight transformative work within all aspects of biological anthropology including teaching materials, repatriation, forensic investigations, and international human rights.

Chairs: Jose Sanchez, Lara Rosenoff Gauvin and Laura Kelvin