Research Expertise and Interest
Bioarchaeology, skeletal biology, gender research, ethics in biological anthropology, osteology and osteoporosis, health and disease, paleopathology.
Dr. Agarwal is a Professor and Chair of the Dept. of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Her 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, fragility, and stress. She is engaged in the application of research in bone maintenance to dialogues of social identity and inequality, embodiment, developmental plasticity, disability, and health. She has examined age- and growth-related changes in cortical bone microstructure, trabecular architecture, bone mineral density, and bone strength 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, and studying samples from prehistoric Turkey and Japan. Her current research is also invested in the bioethics of skeletal biology/bioarchaeology, specifically the practice and ethics of skeletal conservation and repatriation. She currently serves as Special Advisor to the Chancellor and member of the UC Berkeley NAGPRA Advisory Committee, and on The Commission for the Ethical Treatment of Human Remains (TCETHER) of the American Anthropological Association. She is also interested in the philosophies of teaching, and actively involved in the pedagogical training of current and future college instructors, and has been awarded numerous teaching grants and honors, including the Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest campus award for excellence in teaching. She is the founder of the Western Bioarchaeology Group (WeBiG), co-founder and former co-chair of the Bioarchaeology Interest Group in the Society for American Archaeology (SAA), is co-founding Editor of Bioarchaeology International, and currently serves on the Editorial Board of American Antiquity.