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Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision of DNA, Race, and History (Rutgers Studies on Race and Ethnicity) [Paperback]

Keith Wailoo , Alondra Nelson , Catherine Lee

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Book Description

February 16, 2012 0813552559 978-0813552552 1
Our genetic markers have come to be regarded as portals to the past. Analysis of these markers is increasingly used to tell the story of human migration; to investigate and judge issues of social membership and kinship; to rewrite history and collective memory; to right past wrongs and to arbitrate legal claims and human rights controversies; and to open new thinking about health and well-being. At the same time, in many societies genetic evidence is being called upon to perform a kind of racially charged cultural work: to repair the racial past and to transform scholarly and popular opinion about the "nature" of identity in the present.
Genetics and the Unsettled Past considers the alignment of genetic science with commercial genealogy, with legal and forensic developments, and with pharmaceutical innovation to examine how these trends lend renewed authority to biological understandings of race and history.
This unique collection brings together scholars from a wide range of disciplines--biology, history, cultural studies, law, medicine, anthropology, ethnic studies, sociology--to explore the emerging and often contested connections among race, DNA, and history. Written for a general audience, the book's essays touch upon a variety of topics, including the rise and implications of DNA in genealogy, law, and other fields; the cultural and political uses and misuses of genetic information; the way in which DNA testing is reshaping understandings of group identity for French Canadians, Native Americans, South Africans, and many others within and across cultural and national boundaries; and the sweeping implications of genetics for society today.

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Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision of DNA, Race, and History (Rutgers Studies on Race and Ethnicity) + Revisiting Race in a Genomic Age (Studies in Medical Anthropology)
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Editorial Reviews


"This sterling and absolutely needed collection probes the political and historical meanings of DNA, shaping our understanding of human connections and ourselves. Arguing for a multidisciplinary approach to these contentious concerns, this book should be widely read and discussed…a masterpiece." 
Susan M. Reverby, Wellesley College

"Intellectually and analytically strong, this volume comes together in a fluid melding of many different voices and perspectives that, when taken together, provide the richest and best collection of scholarship on the topic."
Troy Duster, author of Backdoor to Eugenics

"Few collections have so successfully straddled the divide between biology and humanities in relation to race. This work will be widely read and cited."
Jay S. Kaufman, McGill University

About the Author

KEITH WAILOO is the Townsend Martin Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University and the author or editor of several books, including Katrina's Imprint: Race and Vulnerability in America (Rutgers University Press), How Cancer Crossed the Color Line, and Dying in the City of the Blues: Sickle Cell Anemia and the Politics of Race and Health.

ALONDRA NELSON is an associate professor of sociology and gender studies at Columbia University. She is the author of Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination and coeditor of Technicolor: Race, Technology, and Everyday Life.

CATHERINE LEE is an assistant professor of sociology and a faculty associate at the Institute for Health at Rutgers University. She is completing a book entitled Fictive Kin: Family Reunification and the Meaning of Race in Immigration Policy.

Product Details

More About the Author

Alondra Nelson, is professor of sociology at Columbia University, as well as director of the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality. She is author most recently of "Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight against Medical Discrimination," which was recognized with four book awards. In addition, she is an editor of three volumes: "Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision of DNA, Race, and History;" "Technicolor: Race, Technology, and Everyday Life;" and "Afrofuturism" (a special issue of "Social Text"). Her essays, reviews, and commentary have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Science, and the Boston Globe, among other publications. She is currently completing her next book, "The Social Life of DNA," which will be published later this year by Beacon Press. For more information, please see Follow her on Twitter @alondra and @sociallifeofDNA

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