Rachel Watkins

Associate Professor
Department of Anthropology

  • My research focuses on the biological and social history of African Americans living in the 19th and 20th century urban US. Specifically, I examine the health consequences of poverty and inequality through skeletal and documentary data analysis.

    I conduct on-going research on the W. Montague Cobb skeletal collection, which is made up of DC residents who died in the city between 1930 and 1969. There is extensive cultural information associated with the collection that makes it ideal for examining various biocultural interrelationships.

    Research of this kind is useful for understanding health and disease patterns in marginal populations over time, as well as their relationship to changing historical trends and policies. Therefore, bioanthropological research has an important role to play in the future development of health policy and health advocacy practices.

    I teach Roots of Racism, Human Origins, courses on race, biology and culture, social theory and human biology.
  • Degrees

    PhD, Anthropology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
    MAA, Applied Anthropology, University of Maryland, College Park
    BA, Anthropology, Howard University

  • CAS - Anthropology
  • Hamilton - 304
  • Wednesdays 10-12 and by appointment/phone/skype as needed.

  • (202) 885-1663 (Office)
  • Send email Profile UserID

  • To request an interview for a
    news story, call AU Communications
    at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.

Partnerships & Affiliations

  • Association of Black Anthropologists, American Anthropological Association

    Associate Editor, Transforming Anthropology

  • American Anthropological Association


  • Society for Applied Anthropology


  • Society for the Anthropology of North America


  • AU: Educational Policy Committee


  • AU Department of Anthropology: Undergraduate Studies Committee