Bioarchaeology of Impairment and Disability

Theoretical, Ethnohistorical, and Methodological Perspectives

  • Jennifer F. Byrnes
  • Jennifer L. Muller

Part of the Bioarchaeology and Social Theory book series (BST)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Jennifer F. Byrnes, Jennifer L. Muller
    Pages 1-15
  3. Theoretical Perspectives on Impairment and Disability

  4. Ethnohistorical Interpretations: Ability, Disability, and Alternate Ability

  5. Quantitative Methods in Impairment and Disability: Bioarchaeological Approaches

  6. Case Studies of Impairment and Disability in the Past

  7. Back Matter
    Pages 291-292

About this book


Over the years, impairment has been discussed in bioarchaeology, with some scholars providing carefully contextualized explanations for their causes and consequences. Such investigations typically take a case study approach and focus on the functional aspects of impairments. However, these interpretations are disconnected from disability theory discourse. Other social sciences and the humanities have far surpassed most of anthropology (with the exception of medical anthropology) in their integration of social theories of disability.

This volume has three goals: The first goal of this edited volume is to present theoretical and methodological discussions on impairment and disability. The second goal of this volume is to emphasize the necessity of interdisciplinarity in discussions of impairment and disability within bioarchaeology. The third goal of the volume is to present various methodological approaches to quantifying impairment in skeletonized and mummified remains.

This volume serves to engage scholars from many disciplines in our exploration of disability in the past, with particular emphasis on the bioarchaeological context. 


social theories of impairment and disability in the past historical and biological causes of disability legal factors driving disability studies within bioarchaeology distinction in use of terms impairment and disability formulation and use of methods to quantify impairment

Editors and affiliations

  • Jennifer F. Byrnes
    • 1
  • Jennifer L. Muller
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Social SciencesUniversity of Hawai‘i–West O‘ahuKapoleiUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyIthaca CollegeIthacaUSA

Bibliographic information