New minor introduced in anthropology department

Jailyn Menefee

Kent State’s anthropology department announced a new course in its curriculum. The course, Introduction to Forensic Anthropology, will kick off the new forensic anthropology minor offered in fall.

Linda Spurlock, an assistant professor in anthropology, will teach the course and discuss the application of biological anthropology in a medico-legal context.

“We hope this class stays because it seems the topic is very popular and with the diversity of lectures and guest speakers I believe there is almost something for everyone,” Spurlock said.

The new course will cover human osteology, determining the biological profile—which includes sex, age, race and stature—facial reconstruction, identifying trauma to bones and the stages of decomposition.

“There will be a lab component to this class. On Tuesday, the class will get some background in a lecture format and then on Thursday break into groups and look at different things I’ve laid out,” Spurlock said.

This class will be one of the first classes offered in the new forensic anthropology minor being developed by the department.

Members of the anthropology department are hopeful the new minor will grow within the school.

“It’ll be fantastic in terms of the fact that it’ll be the doorway to the new forensic anthropology minor we’re developing here, but we are trying to build a forensic anthropology minor with the vision of building it into a major one day,” said Anthony Tosi, an assistant professor in the anthropology department.

Television shows have put forensics in the spotlight through overly dramatized reenactments.

“Although you will see things (in television shows) like CSI, Hollywood is different than real life. But the techniques they use (and) the science they use is real. The speed and the gloss in which they do it is not real life. The underlying science is real,” Tosi said.

Tosi discussed Spurlock and her qualifications for teaching the anthropology course.

“We have the expertise, even though we are a small department. Three of us have testimony experience; Linda has testified as an expert witness many times, Dr. Owen Lovejoy has and I testified in New York about 25 times,” Tosi said.

Jailyn Menefee is a social sciences reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]