goal of this exercise is to consider the role of the forensic
anthropologist in a human rights or military context through case
study. Throughout the course we have discussed how popular media
highlights the role of forensic anthropologists in criminal
investigations. Our readings, particularly in Steadman’s case studies
text, have highlighted how forensic anthropologists are valuable
participants in other types of investigation as well. The
student will choose one particular ‘event’ such as genocide, war, or
mass disaster and use supporting outside sources to demonstrate their
understanding of which government or non-governmental organizations led
the recovery efforts, how forensic anthropologists assisted in the
recovery effort, what methods for recovery and analysis were used, and
evaluate the overall outcome of the investigation.
popular interest in forensic science and forensic anthropology often
stems from an interest in popular media centering on murder
investigations. Yet, forensic anthropologists regularly work in a
variety of other contexts to help identify the remains of individuals
that were victims of mass disasters, genocide, or war. For this
assignment, the student will choose one specific event relating to these
circumstances. The student will systematically identify the role of
government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and forensic
anthropologists in the recovery efforts. Students will describe the
logistical issues in identifying remains in these unique contexts and
discuss the outcome of the investigation and recovery efforts.
Write a 3-4 page narrative that includes the following:
1. Event background
a. Identify the specific mass disaster, genocide, or war that your assignment will focus on.
b. Summarize the event. When and where did it occur? How many people were affected?
Identify the various organizations involved in recovery. You may want
to include information about how the recovery efforts were funded, who
provided supplies, who completed the recovery and analysis.
Identify the forensic anthropologists involved. This need not be a
personal identification. Were there forensic anthropologists there?
Were they academics called in to consult for this project or are they
permanently part of one of the supporting organizations? Were other
specialty areas represented? For example: forensic odontologist,
forensic botanist, pathologist, forensic entomologist?
Discuss some of the recovery issues that were/were not important in
this particular event. Did these issues have an impact on establishing
MNI, or individual identification and if so, how?
2. Significance and ethics
What was the overarching significance of this recovery effort?
Individual identification and notification of loved ones is a given.
What about larger issues? Did this investigation help us understand a
sociopolitical event? Did it help us get a better understanding of how
to prepare for similar events in the future?
Did this recovery effort lead to new discoveries or technologies in
forensic anthropology? Did this recovery effort lead to changes in how
organizations prepare for and respond to events of this nature?
Were all of the forensic scientists and other professional involved in
the investigation working within their area of training and expertise?
If so, why is that important? If not, why were they part of the
4. Works cited
Include two additional outside sources (no dictionaries or
encyclopedias) in your write-up. One source must be a peer-reviewed
scholarly source. You should both cite the sources to demonstrate how
you used the sources in your assignment and also provide references.
You should not use collaborative or personal opinion sources such as
blogs, social networking pages, Wikipedia, Ask.com, Answers.com,
Ehow.com, Encyclopedia Britannica, etc.