The Social Life of DNA

Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome

Author: Alondra Nelson

Publisher: Beacon Press

ISBN: 0807027189

Category: African Americans

Page: 216

View: 6829

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The unexpected story of how genetic testing is affecting race in America We know DNA is a master key that unlocks medical and forensic secrets, but its genealogical life is both revelatory and endlessly fascinating. Tracing genealogy is now the second-most popular hobby amongst Americans, as well as the second-most visited online category. This billion-dollar industry has spawned popular television shows, websites, and Internet communities, and a booming heritage tourism circuit. The tsunami of interest in genetic ancestry tracing from the African American community has been especially overwhelming. In The Social Life of DNA, Alondra Nelson takes us on an unprecedented journey into how the double helix has wound its way into the heart of the most urgent contemporary social issues around race. For over a decade, Nelson has deeply studied this phenomenon. Artfully weaving together keenly observed interactions with root-seekers alongside illuminating historical details and revealing personal narrative, she shows that genetic genealogy is a new tool for addressing old and enduring issues. In The Social Life of DNA, she explains how these cutting-edge DNA-based techniques are being used in myriad ways, including grappling with the unfinished business of slavery: to foster reconciliation, to establish ties with African ancestral homelands, to rethink and sometimes alter citizenship, and to make legal claims for slavery reparations specifically based on ancestry. Nelson incisively shows that DNA is a portal to the past that yields insight for the present and future, shining a light on social traumas and historical injustices that still resonate today. Science can be a crucial ally to activism to spur social change and transform twenty-first-century racial politics. But Nelson warns her readers to be discerning: for the social repair we seek can't be found in even the most sophisticated science. Engrossing and highly original, The Social Life of DNA is a must-read for anyone interested in race, science, history and how our reckoning with the past may help us to chart a more just course for tomorrow. From the Hardcover edition.
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Reconsidering Race

Social Science Perspectives on Racial Categories in the Age of Genomics

Author: Kazuko Suzuki,Diego A. von Vacano

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190465301

Category: Political Science

Page: 256

View: 1085

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Race is one of the most elusive phenomena of social life. While we generally know it when we see it, it's not an easy concept to define. Social science literature has argued that race is a Western concept that emerged with the birth of modern imperialism, whether in the sixteenth century (the Age of Discovery) or the eighteenth century (the Age of Enlightenment). This book points out that there is a disjuncture between the way race is conceptualized in the social sciences and in recent natural science literature. In the view of some proponents of natural-scientific perspectives, race has a biological- and not just a purely social - dimension. The book argues that, to more fully understand what we mean by race, social scientists need to engage these new perspectives coming from genomics, medicine, and health policy. To be sure, the long, dark shadow of eugenics and the Nazi use of scientific racism cast a pall over the effort to understand the complicated relationship between social science and medical science understandings of race. While this book rejects pseudoscientific and hierarchical ways of looking at race and affirms that it is rooted in social grounds, it makes the claim that it is time to move beyond merely repeating the "race is a social construct" mantra. The chapters in this book consider three fundamental tensions in thinking about race: one between theories that see race as fixed and those that see it as malleable; a second between Western (especially US-based) and non-Western perspectives that decenter the US experience; and a third between sociopolitical and biomedical concepts of race. The book will help shed light on multiple contemporary concerns, such as the place of race in identity formation, ethno- political conflict, immigration policy, social justice, biomedical ethics, and the carceral state.
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Routledge Handbook of Genomics, Health and Society

Author: Sahra Gibbon,Barbara Prainsack,Stephen Hilgartner,Janelle Lamoreaux

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1315451670

Category: Science

Page: 316

View: 4320

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The Handbook provides an essential resource at the interface of Genomics, Health and Society, and forms a crucial research tool for both new students and established scholars across biomedicine and social sciences. Building from and extending the first Routledge Handbook of Genetics and Society, the book offers a comprehensive introduction to pivotal themes within the field, an overview of the current state of the art knowledge on genomics, science and society, and an outline of emerging areas of research. Key themes addressed include the way genomic based DNA technologies have become incorporated into diverse arenas of clinical practice and research whilst also extending beyond the clinic; the role of genomics in contemporary ‘bioeconomies’; how challenges in the governance of medical genomics can both reconfigure and stabilise regulatory processes and jurisdictional boundaries; how questions of diversity and justice are situated across different national and transnational terrains of genomic research; and how genomics informs – and is shaped by – developments in fields such as epigenetics, synthetic biology, stem cell, microbial and animal model research. Presenting cutting edge research from leading social science scholars, the Handbook provides a unique and important contribution to the field. It brings a rich and varied cross disciplinary social science perspective that engages with both the history and contemporary context of genomics and ‘post-genomics’, and considers the now global and transnational terrain in which these developments are unfolding.
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Social by Nature

The Promise and Peril of Sociogenomics

Author: Catherine Bliss

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 1503603962

Category: Social Science

Page: 304

View: 8075

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Sociogenomics has rapidly become one of the trendiest sciences of the new millennium. Practitioners view human nature and life outcomes as the result of genetic and social factors. In Social by Nature, Catherine Bliss recognizes the promise of this interdisciplinary young science, but also questions its implications for the future. As she points out, the claim that genetic similarities cause groups of people to behave in similar ways is not new—and a dark history of eugenics warns us of its dangers. Over the last decade, sociogenomics has enjoyed a largely uncritical rise to prominence and acceptance in popular culture. Researchers have published studies showing that things like educational attainment, gang membership, and life satisfaction are encoded in our DNA long before we say our first word. Strangely, unlike the racial debates over IQ scores in the '70s and '90s, sociogenomics has not received any major backlash. By exposing the shocking parallels between sociogenomics and older, long-discredited, sciences, Bliss persuasively argues for a more thoughtful public reception of any study that reduces human nature to a mere sequence of genes. This book is a powerful call for researchers to approach their work in more socially responsible ways, and a must-read for anyone who wants to better understand the scholarship that impacts how we see ourselves and our society.
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