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College of Arts & Sciences
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Corey Ragsdale

Title: Assistant Professor
Phone: 650-2933
Office: PH 0403A
Degree : PhD - University of New Mexico
Advising: Bioarchaeology


Teaching Interests

As a bioarchaeologist, I teach courses in biological anthropology, as well as those that share a focus in archaeology. I also teach courses related to forensic anthropology, and a field school course in Mortuary Archaeology (ANTH 475). My courses incorporate a lot of hands on, laboratory experiences, while also encouraging the use of critical thinking skills. All of my courses incorporate themes related to understanding skeletal (and dental) biology, human variation, and evolution, while also incorporating archaeological research and theory. New courses I am hoping to contribute in the future include courses related to health, as well as human variation.

Courses Taught

ANTH 111A: Human Ancestry and Adaptations

ANTH 333: New World Cities and States

ANTH 369: Introduction to Forensic Anthropology

ANTH 469: Forensic Anthropology Applications

ANTH 470 (Topic): Archaeology of Death

ANTH 470 (Topic): Dental Anthropology

ANTH 475: Mortuary Archaeology Field School

ANTH 491: Senior Project

Personal History

I am the first generation in my family to get a college education. Before going to school, I served as a combatant in the United States Army, and was deployed to numerous countries. My experiences overseas fostered a deep curiosity in human populations around the world. Why were societies so different from place to place, but also so much the same? I decided to go into academia during my undergraduate training, when I took some very interesting courses in Anthropology. I was originally trained as an archaeologist, but developed very strong interests in biological anthropology in graduate school at the University of New Mexico. While in graduate school, and while teaching at the University of Montana, I participated in forensic casework as well. Since then, I have devoted my career to better understanding human variation and human social complexity as it is seen over time. 

Research Activities

I am a bioarchaeologist, so I am primarily interested in studying the lifeways of people in the past. The dead can tell us so much about human history, which also gives us insight into why we are the way we are. Are the socio-political issues we see in our own society unique to here and now? By looking at past populations from various civilizations around the world, and comparing them to modern populations, we are better equipped to answer broad questions such as this.

My specific areas of research include investigating migratory patterns of past populations, and how these patterns are influenced by various political, economic, and ideological processes. To do this, I specialize in human skeletal and dental variation, and have developed innovative statistical techniques related to biological differences among populations. I am also interested in population health and violence, broadly, and how they are also influenced by socio-cultural factors. My main geographic areas of interest include Mesoamerica and the American Southwest, and I have recently been developing research projects related to medieval Europe and Colonial Mexico. One project I worked on contributed to the documentation, return, and reburial of skeletal remains representing over 800 individuals. I work collaboratively with several researchers form other academic/medical fields, universities, and countries. I also contribute to the field of forensic anthropology, since many methods overlap with bioarchaeology. I participate in forensic anthropology cases, when asked, as a service to the community. These opportunities also sometimes allow for excellent training for students.

Select Publications

Ragsdale CS. In press. Regional Population Structure in Postclassic Mexico. Ancient Mesoamerica.

Ragsdale CS, Melgar-Tisoc E, and Edgar HJH. 2016. Origins of the skull offerings of the Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan. Current Anthropology 57: 357-369.

Edgar HJH, Willermet C, Ragsdale CS, O’Donnel A, and Daneshvari S. 2015. Frequencies of rare incisor variations reflect factors influencing precontact population relationships in Mexico and the American Southwest.  International Journal of Osteoarchaeology. (In early view).

Ragsdale CS, Edgar HJH. 2015. Cultural interaction and biological distance in Postclassic period Mexico. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 157: 121-133.

Ragsdale CS, Edgar HJH. 2014. Cultural effects on phenetic distances among Postclassic Mexican and Southwest United States populations. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 26: 53-67.

Willermet C, Edgar HJH, Ragsdale CS, Aubry BS. 2013. Biodistances among Aztec, Maya, Toltec, and Totonac groups of central and coastal Mexico. Chungara. Vol. 45. No. 3. 447-459.

Ragsdale CS, Tello Cordova G.2016. Análisis de morfología dental en los restos óseos de Tamtoc y su relación con otras áreas culturales. In Cordova Tello G, Martinez Mora E, editors. Tamtoc: ritualidad y organización social. Mexico City:  Instituto Naciona de Antropologia e Historia.

Ragsdale CS, Melgar E, Martinez Mora E. 2016. Guerreros Huastecos en el Templo Mayor: el caso de las mascaras cráneo. In Cordova Tello G, Martinez Mora E, editors. Tamtoc: ritualidad y organización social. Mexico City:  Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia.

Professional member of:

American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA)

Society for American Archaeology (SAA)

Dental Anthropology Association (DAA)


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