Dr. Debra Martin (UNLV) Gives Archaeology Month Lecture

23 Oct 12:00 am

Turner A. Wingo Auditorium

Dr. Debra Martin

The Violence of Males and Masculinity in Early Small Scale Societies


Violence (lethal and nonlethal) is associated with social spheres of power and influence and it is embedded within ideologies, histories and memories of groups. Using fine-grained biocultural analyses that interrogate violence in a more nuanced way, histories and experiences of social violence can identify culturally-specific patterns related to age, sex, and status. This paper explores the entanglements of violence and masculinity and the constructive (or destructive) processes that shape male identities and map on to local norms regarding the benefits of violence to male identities and success. Comprehending patterns of violence in early non-state societies provides a baseline for understanding the varieties, complexities and trajectories of violence seen in later state societies.


Debra Martin received her PhD from UMass/Amherst under the mentorship of George Armelagos in 1983.  She taught at Hampshire College until 2006 when she relocated to the University of Nevada/Las Vegas.  Her research interests are centered on biocultural approaches to understanding violence in human groups. She received the Harry J. Reid Silver State Distinguished Researcher Award in 2015, the Barrick Senior Distinguished Research Award in 2014 and the Lincy Professorship in Anthropology in 2012. She was awarded the American Anthropological Association/Oxford University Press Distinguished Teaching Award (2014). Since 2006 she has published 11 books and 54 journal articles and book chapters, many of them co-authored or co-edited with her PhD students. New Directions in Biocultural Anthropology, co-edited with Molly Zuckerman, is an homage to George Armelagos with chapters authored by his many PhD students (2016, Wiley).  Other books includeBodies and Lives, Health in Ancient America with Dr. Anna Osterholtz, (2015, Routledge),Bioarchaeology of Women and Children in Times of War (2016, Springer), Broken Bones, Broken Bodies (2017, Lexington) and Blood in the Village: Bioarchaeology of Massacres (in press, UPF).