Genetic Ancestry : Our Stories, Our Pasts book cover
1st Edition

Genetic Ancestry
Our Stories, Our Pasts

ISBN 9780367026240
Published October 21, 2020 by Routledge
134 Pages

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Book Description

Genetic Ancestry focuses on the scientific nature and limitations of genetic ancestry testing. Co-authored by a genetic anthropologist and a cultural anthropologist, it examines the social, historical, and cultural dimensions of how people interpret genetic ancestry data. Utilizing examples from popular culture around the world and case studies from the Caribbean, the chapters highlight how genetic technology can sometimes bolster racial thinking and serve as tool of resistance and social justice.

Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. What is a genetic ancestry test?;  2. How do humans think about the past and their ancestors?;  3.Genetic perspectives on the past;  4. Race, the elephant in the room;  5. Anténor Firmin and biological anthropology as anti-racism;  6. Genetic ancestry as empowerment;  Conclusion: Our stories, our past

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Jada Benn Torres is a genetic anthropologist, Associate Professor and Director of the Genetic Anthropology and Bio-Cultural Studies Laboratory at the Vanderbilt University, USA.

Gabriel A. Torres Colón is a cultural anthropologist in the American Studies Program at Vanderbilt University, USA


This timely and very important book argues for a biocultural approach to the study of embodied difference, in this case with a focus on race, that leads to a more nuanced understanding of genetic ancestry. The authors postulate that the importance of a deep understanding of how questionable racial theories and the lived experiences of race create the context for how people interpret genetic ancestry and relationships and understandings that spring from it. They argue for a forward looking anti-racist anthropology that is inclusive of both biological and social science.

~Dr. Yolanda T. Moses, University of California Riverside, United states of America