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‘You have your own history. Keep your hands off ours!’ On being rejected in the field*

Katharina Schramm

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Race, Genealogy, and the Genomic Archive in Post-apartheid South Africa

Katharina Schramm


From the early 2000s onward, scientists, politicians, and intellectuals have presented the South African gene pool as a new archive for the new nation, suggesting a non-racial unity in diversity through common human origins. In this discourse, population genomics and genetic ancestry allude to metaphors of shared kinship to overcome the legacies of race. However, a focus on the underlying practices of measuring and classification reveals how the genomic archive is implicated in the history of apartheid and its racialized subjectivities. Similarly, individual interpretations of genetic ancestry show that race is constantly brought forth in this archival process. The genomic archive interweaves measuring practices in the sciences with the politics of social and biographical experience—a relationship that is at the heart of genetic genealogies.

Open access

Doing race in Europe

Contested pasts and contemporary practices

Markus Balkenhol and Katharina Schramm

In this introduction to the special section on ‘Doing Race in Europe’ we take up the notion of race as an ‘absent presence’ to deal with two related issues. First, we consider the historically contested position of race in the discipline of anthropology. Second, we think through the notion of an ‘absent presence’ conceptually and methodologically so as to develop a relational approach enabling us to analyse race in practice. We take as a point of departure the idea that we cannot know race in advance, and that we therefore need to study how it comes about, and how it is made and unmade in specific situations. We therefore call for renewed ethnographic attention to how race is made absent and present in multiple ways. This special section is the first joint publication of the EASA network for the anthropology of race and ethnicity (ARE).