Ben Schaefer

Benjamin Schaefer
bs106@wellesley.edu
Anthropology
B.A., Drew University; M.A., M.Phil., Georgia State University; M.A., University of Illinois (Chicago)

Benjamin Schaefer

Visiting Lecturer in Anthropology

Anthropological Bioarchaeologist informed through Feminist and Queer theory examines the lived experiences leading up to ritual sacrifice in the Ancient Andes


I am a Queer non-binary anthropological bioarchaeologist that investigates the lived experiences prior to ritual execution during the Chimú (1100-1470 CE) and Inka (1470-1532 CE) Empires on the North Coast of Peru. My doctoral research uses recovered mummified hair to elucidate the lived experiences in the months leading up to sacrifice to answer the central question: where these people knowledgeable participants in their own death? Additionally, I have worked as a contract forensic anthropologist for the DPAA and DoD to exhume and repatriate fallen American soldiers back to the United States and worked in Repatriations at The Field Museum of Natural History.

For teaching, I integrate Black Feminist and Queer theory into my courses in order to tease out the nuances of how we understand the interactions between biology and culture. My repertoire of courses include Forensic Anthropology, The Archaeology of Sacrifice, Andean Archaeology, Mesoamerican Archaeology, The Archaeology of Death, Human Osteology, Palaeopathology, and Bioarchaeological Methods and Theory.

Aside from my academic work, I worked for the Chicago Department of Public Health COVID-19 Medical Response Team during the onset of the global pandemic.

My personal interest include cooking and baking because when I was younger, I thought I would open up my own bakery. I have also taken up drawing and graphic design where I have begun to create my own tarot card deck - some of which are currently in-residence at Ghost Gallery in Seattle, WA.