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

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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.

Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology

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