Research Expertise and Interest
Bioarchaeology, skeletal biology, gender research, ethics in biological anthropology, osteology and osteoporosis, health and disease, paleopathology.
Dr. Agarwal's interests are focused broadly upon the age, sex and gender-related changes in bone quantity and quality, particularly the application of biocultural and developmental/life course approaches to the study of bone maintenance and fragility. More recently, she has become interested in the application of research in bone maintenance to dialogues of social identity, embodiment, developmental plasticity, disability, and inequality in bioarchaeology. She has examined age- and growth-related changes in cortical bone microstructure, trabecular architecture, and mineral density in several historic British and Italian archaeological populations, and has examined the long-term effect of growth and reproduction (parity and lactation) on the human and non-human primate maternal skeleton, studying samples from prehistoric Turkey and Japan. Her current research is also invested in bioethics of skeletal biology/bioarchaeology, specifically the practice and ethics of skeletal conservation, and she currently serves as Chair of the UC Berkeley NAGPRA Advisory Committee. She is also interested in the philosophies of teaching, and actively involved in the pedagogical training of current and future college instructors and was awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award in 2021.