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

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Abstract

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.

Ubuntu, commonly translated as “we are people through other people,” is an expression of profound human relatedness that marked one of the core principles of South African post-apartheid cultural politics. The concept became prominent during the presidency of Thabo Mbeki (1999–2009) when he announced the ‘African Renaissance’ as a massive project of cultural and political transformation. In this vision of a non-racial future, the sciences of human origins featured very prominently. Through recourse to scientific evidence, racism and apartheid inequalities appeared merely as a sociological error, a misunderstanding of biological facts that could be overcome by scientific rationality in the spirit of democratic enlightenment. The communal ‘we’ that was evoked in ubuntu demarcated the South African nation, with its specific history, but it also extended the threshold of commonality and kinship to humankind as such—a humankind with one of its cradles in today's South Africa.1 In contrast to the messy and disturbing sphere of contemporary politics, politicians, scientists, and public intellectuals portrayed the scientific realm as a neutral space and authoritative source of knowledge that would provide objective measurement and thereby demonstrate the power of evolutionary and contemporary relatedness.

Along with archaeology and paleoanthropology, human population genomics featured most prominently in this configuration. In line with new scientific findings that focused on the sequencing and comparison of mitochondrial and Y-chromosomal DNA to explore ancient human migrations ‘out of Africa’, this public discourse celebrated genetic unity in diversity as an apt foundation for belonging in the rainbow nation.2 Advocates of genetic ancestry testing in South Africa consequently employed the language of ubuntu to explain and advertise their work as a measure of closeness in terms of the shared African origins of humanity and the resulting kinship of all human beings (Bystrom 2009).

Early on, genetic ancestry testing was widely publicized through television programs such as M-Net's 2004 Carte Blanche program So, Where Do We Come From?, which not only documented the procedures and sensationalized the revelation of test results, but also emphasized the multiple origins of contemporary South Africans, pointing out that this mixture truly undermined racial stereotypes and showed all people as members of one big human family. Several prominent South Africans underwent testing, among them Nelson Mandela, who afterward proudly announced his maternal Khoisan ancestry. In making this information public, Mandela followed a threefold rhetorical move. First, he denounced the stability of apartheid classifications and ethnic labels, demonstrating a transcendence of these categories through genetic mixture in his own body. Second, he emphasized his belonging to the land by stressing a relation to its indigenous inhabitants. Third, he underlined his connection to the roots of humanity, so to speak, as the genetic markers associated with Khoisan descent are deemed to be the oldest in modern human evolution (see Schuster et al. 2010).

Such revelations by public figures were flanked by several research projects that involved genetic ancestry testing among larger cohorts of people, often with a focus on previously disadvantaged communities. These projects combined a growing research interest in ‘unique populations’ as well as in genetic admixture with business interests and educational purposes, thus producing a ‘post-apartheid genome’ as a signature of belonging in the new South Africa (Foster 2016).

While the promise of scientific enlightenment as a means of curbing racism lay at the basis of public representations of population genomic research and ancestry testing all over the globe (see Nash 2015), it took on special significance in post-apartheid South Africa. Ideas about the ontological differences between ‘races’, supplemented by jumbled references to the polygenic creationism of the Dutch Reformed Church, were central features of the ideology of White supremacy on which the apartheid order was built and sustained. The new emphasis on the biological insignificance of race, underlying the genetic narrative of ‘our African past’, was therefore a welcome move in the direction of an integrative notion of national belonging and shared humanity. For geneticists and heritage experts alike, the South African gene pool came to be conceived as one of the new archives for the new nation. In opposition to the “artificial, arbitrary and totally unscientific system of race classification” (Philip Tobias, cited in Soodyall 2003: 204) that characterized apartheid bureaucracy, prominent geneticists like Himla Soodyall contended that “genetic research has helped resolve several myths of the peoples of Africa … restoring pride and a sense of identity to every South African” (ibid.: 205)—thereby making race irrelevant and, consequently, making racism disappear.

In this article, which evolves from a long-standing research interest in race and the sciences of human origins in South Africa, I seek to unpack the archival logic underlying these claims through a focus on kinship measurements and the various indicators of similarity and difference on which they rest (Thelen and Lammer, this issue).3 Taking a close look at the archival infrastructure, epistemic framing, and multiple interpretations of DNA, I demonstrate how race as a particular ‘technology of belonging’ (M'charek, Schramm, and Skinner 2014) is simultaneously undone and rearticulated in the life of the (genomic) archive (Hamilton 2011). I argue that the close connection between political and scientific classifications that make up the archival index has far-reaching consequences for the accessibility and interpretation of the genetic information.

To begin with, I explore the metaphor of the genomic archive and pay closer attention to the complex ways in which practices of sampling, measuring, and classifying shape and inform the archival infrastructure—the very understanding of the genome as archive. I then look at the specifics of colonial and apartheid genealogical practices and bureaucratic classifications that have shaped current understandings of what constitutes a population in significant ways. The biography of the genomic archive, that is, the cultural politics of its interpretation, relates in many ways to historically situated understandings of difference and practices of belonging. Despite the claim that the genome would provide an unbiased historical record of human migration, these measurements are contested, mirroring the troubled presence of race in contemporary South Africa. I discuss two distinct ways of making sense of genomic data in a post-apartheid setting: first, the genealogical project of the Smit Family Association, which aims at genetic affirmation of ‘White’ Afrikaner-identity; second, the flexibility of interpretation and the possible mismatch between personal biography and genetic ancestry through the example of a ‘Coloured’ participant in a DNA sampling exercise.4 Various forms of measuring kinship and belonging overlap and contradict each other at the interface of historical genealogies of scientific knowledge, classificatory practices, and common-sense understandings of race. Examining the measurements of kinship in the genomic archive thus helps to understand the ongoing and troubling presence of race in the practice of genetic genealogy in South Africa and beyond.5

Archival Transformations: Investigating the Life of the Genomic Archive in a Democratic South Africa

The body, more specifically the DNA found in every nucleated cell, harbours the ‘blueprints’ that determine our individuality … [T]he body, through its DNA, constitutes an archive, with a narrative of our prehistory and evolutionary past. (Soodyall et al. 2002: 180; emphasis added)

This is how the above-mentioned South African population geneticist Himla Soodyall and her colleagues describe the material foundation of their genetic work.6 In this interpretation, the human genome and the new technologies of measuring genetic similarity and difference through which it becomes ‘readable’ constitute a superior source of knowledge about human origins and relatedness. The authors argue that the genomic archive has an inherent capacity to access “history without biases” (ibid.: 184; cf. Sommer 2016). In this expression, scientific and archival objectivity claims reinforce one another, thereby undergirding the genomic archive as an effective metaphor for the historical value and political authority of DNA-based science. Moreover, the geneticists’ reference to the genome as archive forms part of a very distinctive articulation of ‘archive fever’ (Derrida 1995) in democratic South Africa.

In the aftermath of apartheid's brutal regime, questions about the legitimacy and authority of archival sources and evidentiary practices became increasingly pertinent on both a practical and academic level, leading to a lively debate on ‘refiguring’ the archive (Hamilton et al. 2002a). Scholars have addressed the colonial and apartheid residues in contemporary dynamics of difference and belonging, asking how these could be reshaped and potentially undone (Erasmus 2017). Archival references play a major role in this conversation, not only out of a concern with previously silenced pasts and the need for new archival repositories (Mangcu 2011), but also to better understand the workings of the apartheid state, its bureaucratic machinery and classificatory power (Breckenridge 2014).

To understand these dynamics in more general terms, Carolyn Hamilton (2011: 320) has called for the need to historicize archives themselves to understand their “complex conditions of production.” To study the ‘life’ of an archive, Hamilton suggests an ethnographic approach that would unpack both the ‘backstory’ and the ‘biography’ of an archive. She contends that “backstory and biography are necessary moves in establishing the factors that over time have given shape to the material that is to be used as evidence” (ibid.: 340). In other words, we should pay attention to the indicators, sorting principles, values, and specific infrastructures that ground evidentiary practices (such as the claim to measure human relatedness through the genomic archive). We also need to examine the relations and wider contexts that shape the interpretation of archival ‘data’ (e.g., the individual results of genetic ancestry testing). The connection between backstory and biography implies that the archival structure, that is, the materiality of storage and its principles of organization, has an impact on the information it contains, as do the interpretations and uses of that content over time. Far from being neutral reference points, archives are always politically situated—defined by the dynamics of access, origins, and legitimation (Derrida 1995; Stoler 2009).

As Geoffrey Bowker (2005: 21) has demonstrated, these dynamics are not only pertinent to classical historical archives; they are also highly relevant to memory practices in the natural sciences. These are often underwritten by “an ideologically charged eternal present” (ibid.: 44), which places scientific inquiry, measurement, and evidence production securely outside history. Bowker shows how focusing on archival practices and materialities, together with the hegemonic or heterodox readings of the archive, helps to decenter dominant understandings of the scientific archive and to reveal its ontological politics.

The understanding that nature is not a separate realm outside culture but that these spheres are co-constituted has, of course, been long debated in both the anthropology of kinship and the wider field of science and technology studies—especially in critical engagement with the new genetics (Goodman et al. 2003; Haraway 1995). Still, the editors of the influential volume Refiguring the Archive chose to exempt the genomic archive from such scrutiny, claiming that “there are limits to constructedness, as … geneticists have demonstrated through DNA testing” (Hamilton et al. 2002a: 12). Referring to the controversies about the Jewish origins of the Lemba community and the involvement of geneticists in this debate (see Tamarkin 2020), they go on to state that “the authority vested in scientific evidence suggests that some archives do in fact exist outside of human agency—some things happen and are preserved beyond the self-conscious construction of the archive” (Hamilton et al. 2002a: 12).7 However, by following through its multiple backstories and biographies, I demonstrate how the genomic archive is by no means a neutral source of information—nor is it uncontested.

Backstory I: ‘Making Up People’ in South African Population Genomics

The National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg is one of the key sites of population genomic research in South Africa.8 Under the leadership of Himla Soodyall, a team of geneticists has conducted numerous sampling exercises for ancestry-related genomic research over the past 20 years. Part of this research took place in the framework of the Genographic Project, a global enterprise launched in 2005 by the National Geographic Society. The project, which aimed to map out migration patterns of human populations through a molecular evolutionary time frame, consisted of two main strategies: first, the focus was on indigenous communities, who were sampled under the premise of determining patterns of bio-geographical ancestry; second, the project addressed a general (mainly Western) public through commercial genetic ancestry services.9 At the NHLS, both strands were actively pursued.

Public outreach was a major part of the work, and the team organized several seminars to inform lay audiences about the scientific procedures used in genetic ancestry testing and its meaning for human history. Soodyall also felt strongly about giving feedback to the people they had sampled, and she continually emphasized that the work was not just about an anonymous substance (DNA), but that they were dealing with members of real-life communities.10

Soodyall's (2003) recognition of the value of individual contributions to the larger project of the ‘human journey’ and her attention to the ethical obligations inherent in the research are also expressed in one of her articles. In it, she states that “a DNA sample is much more than just a chemical you can retrieve from the freezer. It represents a person, his or her community, his or her history” (ibid.: 211). The links between DNA, history, and belonging suggested here deserve close attention as they shape the ways in which the genomic archive is conceived simultaneously as a repository for a ‘truth from the body’ (Fassin and d'Halluin 2005) and as an infrastructure to measure degrees of relatedness. In Soodyall's phrasing, the DNA archive appears as both substance and reference, at the same time constituting material source and interpretative framework.

This epistemological strategy is quite common in some versions of the natural sciences. Indeed, as Bowker (2005: 66) has argued, “the archive is central both to thinking about the objects being studied (the annals of the earth; the code in our genes) and to our writing these studies (archival publications, databases as scientific publications).” Soodyall's words also entail an additional layer of interpretation: DNA is regarded as ‘hard’ evidence (a ‘chemical’, produced and measured through very strict and highly routinized lab protocols), but it also provides an avenue to a ‘softer’ narrative (speaking to the contemporary lives of people as individuals and groups). But the pathway of interpretation that is acknowledged here is one-directional: it is the DNA sequence that allows deeper insights into the history of human evolution, while at the same time it signifies and legitimates a person's belonging and community history. In this approach to human (biological) diversity, the political and historical circumstances and genealogical networks that make up ‘community’ in the first place become less important than the genetic samples taken from such ‘reference populations’.

However, neither the DNA sampling nor the interpretation of the results occurs outside the social categorizations by which populations are distinguished. At this point, the neutrality of DNA as both substance and reference is challenged. Without the comparison to existing databases (the archival index, so to speak) the genetic sample would have no meaning; it needs to be categorized and set in temporal and geographical relation in order to be understood (M'charek 2005; see also Thelen and Lammer, this issue). It is only through practices of measurement based in comparison that the genomic archive (and the story of human relatedness that is derived from it) comes into being in the first place. Just as in other archives, the technological apparatus, which includes specific indicators and analytical operations, is essential for accessing the content in the genomic archive as well. As Bowker (2005: 136) puts it: “The ideal reading of the archive … is also both the ideal form of the archive … and its material base” (cf. Derrida 1995).

The categories that structure the genomic archive are largely based on the (self-)identifications of donors, which are intrinsically linked to political identities and historically embedded ideas about human diversity (see Jabloner, this issue). In the framework of the South African branch of the Genographic Project, the main focus was on the collection of ‘African’ samples. Non-white/indigenous donors (i.e., ‘Blacks’ and ‘Coloureds’) would get the genetic ancestry test for free because they were considered more likely to exhibit the desired ‘African’ haplogroup. Those who self-classified as ‘White’ had to pay. While this rule facilitated access to communities that were marginalized and discriminated against during apartheid, it also undermined the powerful narrative of genomics disproving race by delinking genotype from phenotype: the sampling strategies themselves relied on highly racialized notions of belonging that closely followed established apartheid categories and common-sense notions of race.

The small and dedicated team of geneticists and lab assistants that I interacted with during my research at the NHLS were all aware of the charged sensitivity of population classification in South Africa. Some of them, including Soodyall herself, shared personal and family experiences of apartheid discrimination. They did not consider their own classificatory practices to be problematic because, according to them, they were strictly about bio-geographical ancestry, not race. In other words, their focus was on genetic markers and statistical probabilities of measuring relatedness, not on exclusive racial boundaries or phenotypical differences. And yet, to arrive at these conclusions that would allow them to associate genetic variation patterns with specific geographical locations (a precondition for ‘mapping’ out human migration routes and evolutionary depth), they operated on an understanding of bounded categorizations of people. For example, they utilized software that required population-specific data for its statistical operations. Sample donors were asked to fill in their ‘ethnicity’, as well as that of their parents and grandparents.11

This genealogical strategy of associating people, place, and belonging in multi-generational depth (through the shortcut of ‘ethnicity’) is widely practiced in population genomics and is mostly unquestioned by practitioners. However, team members reported that the people they interacted with often felt uneasy about the implications of such self-classification, and that they “don't know what we are talking about.” The meaning of ethnicity as a generic, almost technical term thus became part of the consultation process that accompanied the sampling (see Jabloner, this issue). If the resulting self-ascriptions did not match the categories by which the data were organized (e.g., when people left out the required information or chose general political terms such as ‘South African’), the sample would routinely be thrown away and not enter the database. Discarding samples that did not follow historically established categorizations as ‘non-fits’ points to the ways in which the boundaries of the genomic archive are maintained and its self-referentiality (as both substance and reference) is actively constructed.

Another aspect of the backstory of the genomic archive and the making of archival authority concerns the aesthetic dimensions and modes of display through which the measuring of genetic ties becomes tangible (see Thelen and Lammer, this issue). The image of the genealogical tree is important here.12 Soodyall's team uses it as a key tool to translate the technical language of population genomics to the lay audiences they are mainly working with. Every individual, according to this explanation, appears as a leaf on the human tree, which serves as a symbol of life and organic connectedness. Through its association with family histories and genealogical charts, the tree suggests an intimate closeness and sense of belonging to humankind as one large family. However, with African haplogroups at the bottom (closest to the root) and European ones at the top, the tree not only is a symbol of commonality, but at the same time conveys hierarchical ideas of difference that are deeply grounded in the history of scientific racism (Bystrom 2009). Moreover, as I will discuss below, family trees and ancestral charts have had a special significance in apartheid South Africa—another aspect that contradicts the narrative of non-racialism in genetic genealogical practice.

Other forms of measuring kinship through aesthetic representations concern the mathematical models by which populations and haplogroups are classified. In 2010, Soodyall emphasized the “beauty from the computational side,” elaborating:

So the big question is, where did it originate … [F]eeding into the grid … certain programs that have been developed you could now ask the question. But for that you need very good sampling and data points … And the haplogroup A of the Y-chromosome is significant because it's the first branch on the human tree … So now you see, you've got all your stories. (interview, 13 June 2010)

In this explanation, quantification and statistical operations are like a magic key to the secrets of relatedness: the stories are already entailed in the genomic archive, and science provides the means to access to them. However, this account is built on a tautology: the models and categories structure the question (“where do we come from”) while also providing part of the answer (through bio-geographical associations of population and genetic markers). Evidence-based science assumes the prerogative of interpretation: it is not only the history of human evolution that can apparently be read from DNA (if only it is well-enough embedded in the infrastructure of the databases), but ‘all your stories’. This implies the pathways of knowledge that lead to human origins, but also refers to the many different fields in which population genetics have come to play a role, from the inference of population-specific risks and disease susceptibilities (as discussed in Jabloner, this issue) to the personal genealogies and kinship ties that are drawn out in genetic ancestry testing.

The claim to provide access to these stories forms part of the appeal of the genomic archive. It is supported by a complex material infrastructure and the authority of exact measurement and scientific analysis that is linked to it. However, another pillar on which the life of the genomic archive rests is the classificatory logic of apartheid, which created and supported a genealogical imagination that connects ideas about biological relatedness, individual appearance, and group belonging.

Backstory II: Race and Genealogy in Apartheid South Africa

The apartheid ideology of race and the ways it was supported by politics and bureaucracy suggested a neat correspondence between biology, culture, and class. In practice, however, the boundaries between groups proved to be porous, and the evolving racial categories more than slippery. The stabilization of race definitions was largely achieved by drawing on common-sense practices of identification, which allowed for a far more flexible system than would have been possible using a rigid catalogue of criteria (Posel 2001). Once established, racial classifications took on a life of their own, depending largely on a combination of administrative tools of counting and other forms of measuring and everyday enactment (Breckenridge 2014).

Racial hierarchy formed the basis of the apartheid logic. Yet even for those who benefited from apartheid (and who thrived on racial privilege)—that is, White people in general and Afrikaners in particular—their positioning was not self-evident but needed to be actively constructed. Part of the process of gaining and maintaining a privileged position in apartheid society was to conduct lay genealogical research as a specific form of measuring kinship as closeness, thereby legitimizing apartheid rule. The ancestral chart, or pedigree, aligned descent, family origin, racial classification, and political status. It linked an affirmation of Whiteness (via European descent) with the claim of belonging in South Africa (via generational depth), helping to stabilize the ideology of apartheid.

One major site where such genealogical research took place was the South African Genealogical Institute (GISA). GISA holds a rich record of genealogical information about many of South Africa's Afrikaner (or Boer) families. Nowadays, the Institute forms part of a global network of private initiatives facilitating a persistent genealogical boom. The interest in genealogies and family history looks like a form of leisure and seems to exist outside formal politics. During the years of apartheid, however, GISA formed part of the Institute of Historical Research (IHR), under the auspices of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC). In the 1970s, the research conducted at the IHR played an important role in the maintenance and legitimation of apartheid rule, and the Genealogy Section was “embedded in the dominant segregationist and cultural ethos of the time” (Chisholm and Morrow 2007: 53). The genealogists focused on proving the rightful (and dominant) status of Afrikaners in South Africa—as firstcomers, trekkers, and Boers, with a special relationship to the land.13

A long-term employee at the Institute, whom I will call Peter van der Merve, contrasted GISA's previous role with its current work. Referring to the cosmopolitan mix that characterized the Cape colony from its early inception onward, he mentioned the various connections between European settlers and indigenous and enslaved people, referring mainly to sexual relations from which genealogical linkages could be drawn and measured: “The mixture went on, that's why I always say, ‘the so-called White people.’ Because … as I sit here … I have at least like 45 per cent blood from the East.14 … And so that's the situation with all the Afrikaans-speaking people. So that's why I always say we are not completely white-white like it would be in Europe” (interview, 28 July 2010).

During our conversation, van der Merve acknowledged that this kind of admixture was not recognized during apartheid: “They tried to whitewash it.” While apartheid genealogies attempted to prove racial purity to legitimate White supremacy and political dominance, new genealogical strategies are employed in the post-apartheid situation. References to a ‘mixed heritage’, safely located in the distant past, have become quite common for White people (Bystrom 2009; McDougall 2014). In contrast to the dominant apartheid narrative of settler heroism on the frontier, the story of admixture now emphasizes genetic linkages with the autochthonous Khoekhoe and San whom the Dutch settlers encountered when they first landed on the southern tip of Africa. Through references to blood and genealogical descent (sometimes confirmed via DNA testing), it becomes possible to establish oneself as truly South African in a new frame of reference—‘of the soil’—without unsettling the underlying sense of Whiteness as a profound racial essence. For example, despite his acknowledgment of the permeable quality of group boundaries, van der Merve constructed Afrikaner culture as a clear-cut identity as opposed to the “culture of the Black people,” which he regarded as incompatible with his own. “I cannot relate to them because they think differently than I do,” he explained. “Not because they are inferior … their whole culture is different from mine … So it's not a race thing, it is a cultural thing.”

Reducing race to a biological ‘thing’ (as opposed to culture) allowed him to distance himself from the racial regime of the past and to draw on the repertoire of the rainbow nation, where different ‘cultures’ could live in harmony. However, it was this very slippage between cultural and biological identification (e.g., of ‘Black people’) that was characteristic of racial reasoning during apartheid (Posel 2001). Moreover, in van der Merve's own genealogical argumentation, culture, history, and identity were constantly underpinned with a theory of biological descent and phenotypic difference: “For me, it's very important to know who are all those people … who made me? And I'm the product of all those people. So, with all my shortcomings, the color of my hair, how my face looks like, how my skin looks like.” This genealogical reasoning conjoins biological and cultural elements in producing and measuring legitimate kinship ties and claims of descent. It is flexible enough to fit new interpretations, for example, by incorporating non-Europeans into the early history of colonial settlement, while keeping the classificatory logics of the genealogical order intact. Together with the new technologies of measuring kinship in the genetic laboratory, this genealogical order forms the backstory of the genomic archive. Indeed, this archive produces many stories, yet these stories are not located in the body alone but emerge through contingent historical and political relations, as the following archival biographies show.

Biography I: The Smit Family Association: ‘White’ Genealogies

On a hill just outside Tshwane/Pretoria stands the widely visible Voortrekker Monument, a central memorial of Afrikaner nationalism. As a site that represents the ‘old’ South Africa, it still attracts large numbers of visitors. On its premises, one also finds a more recent building that houses the Erfennissentrum (Heritage Center), a private museum dedicated to Afrikaner history of the twentieth century. Even though all explanatory texts carefully avoid any reference to White supremacy, the Afrikaners appear as heroes of the past and victims of the present. They are portrayed as having successfully fought the British colonizers and victoriously extinguished the resistance of Black Africans. In the new South Africa, according to this exhibition, their existence has been threatened. Increasing poverty, farm murders, and a loss of identity, symbolized by the marginalization of the Afrikaans language, are all lamented as results of majority rule since 1994.

After my visit to the exhibition, one of the volunteers, a man in his sixties, asked me to sign the guestbook and leave a comment. When I told him that I found the euphemistic display of apartheid problematic, he spoke of the need to maintain Afrikaner identity and sovereignty. He was very passionate about the history of the Afrikaners, including his own family genealogy, and was eager to talk about it.15 Hans Smit was a former military judge in the South African army and a strong supporter of apartheid. He was extremely skeptical about the post-1994 political transformation and regarded himself as a member of a now oppressed minority. For him, race, volk, and culture were all synonymous. To Smit it was clear that these terms demarcated certain traits and characteristics that differed considerably between the groups defined in this way. In his opinion, cultural belonging was clearly associated with a shared (and idealized) phenotype, articulating kinship as similarity. He repeatedly told me, “You have the blue eyes of my people,” thereby incorporating me into the imagined community of the volk (i.e., the Afrikaner people), if only for the strategic moment of our communication. My German citizenship (and assumed ancestry) also made me interesting for him, since his own genealogical research pointed toward Germany as the birthplace of his first South African ancestor.

For Smit, like van der Merve, Whiteness was the result of a synthesis of biological and cultural factors. His priority for measuring kinship and cultural affinity, however, was the correlation of biology, ancestry, and appearance, because in his view “Coloured people,” despite their shared language and culture, were categorically excluded from the community of the volk. This shows the flexibility of archival interpretation—for while van der Merve acknowledged a cultural and biological affinity with ‘brown people’ (if only to a certain degree), Smit rigorously rejected any such connection.

Hans Smit's fascination with genealogy was not only directed at conventional research into family history. An enthusiastic follower of genetic ancestry testing and an active member of a number of online genealogical forums, he had had both his maternal and paternal ancestral ‘lineages’ genetically tested. He interpreted the results to suit his personal biography and political ideology (cf. Panofsky and Donovan 2019). Even though the genetic information derived from his maternal and paternal tests pointed in slightly different directions, he emphasized that “if there is any kind of connection, [it] can only lie in the fact that both my male and female lineage haplos point to the fact that I am descended from Europeans … I don't know about cellular DNA tests or AIMs16—I don't know what they might tell me about my racial mix. However, in my case the indications seem to be that ethnically I am as much a European as you are” (e-mail correspondence, 7 December 2010).

The maternal ancestry that confirmed Smit's Europeanness was tested at the NHLS as part of the general public outreach and commercial service of the Genographic Project. However, he prioritized his male line of descent, using it to connect conventional genealogical research and genetic ancestry. This approach was in line with apartheid classificatory logics, where patrilineality was the privileged route to assigning racial belonging (Bowker and Star 1999: 203), but it also matched a recent trend in genetic genealogies for ‘surname studies’ (Nash 2012; see also Markó, this issue). Thus, Smit's Y-chromosomal DNA was tested in the framework of the “Smit Surname Project,” an online portal facilitated by FamilyTreeDNA, one of the biggest companies for genetic ancestry testing worldwide. His result pointed to the haplogroup R1a1. According to Smit's research, this particular result pointed back 18,000 to 13,000 years and was shared by millions of men, mainly in Europe, Central Asia, and India. Out of the 15 South African participants in the project, all but one had shared this specific haplogroup. To Smit, this result was not so much indicative of a statistical effect but rather a sign of common descent and close kinship among these men. Moreover, it provided a legitimate and stable connection to Whiteness. For Smit, the origin of the haplogroup R1a1 was undoubtedly situated in the Caucasus, which proved very fitting, given its association with the racial categorization of ‘Caucasian’ for ‘White’.

In a short paper he wrote for a genealogical forum, Smit further speculated about the possible association of his family lineage with a Muscovite noble ancestor. This was based on an interpretation of the so-called ySearch forum of FamilyTreeDNA that provided calculations by which the MRCA (most recent common ancestor) of different samples could be identified. The time frame achieved by this estimation reached back about 800 years. Smit reflected on the meaning of such a connection:

The possibility of a connection to Slavic nobility does not change anything about my self-image. That connection (if there ever was such a connection) happened too long ago … And, besides, I reckon that my ancestors never lived in palaces … but that they were peasant folk—a ‘Smit’ peasant girl most probably had a son by a Russian or Polish noble, and that son became the ancient progenitor of the S[outh] A[frican] Smit. (E-mail correspondence, 7 December 2010)

Again, this genealogical imagination was closely linked to Smit's political identity as an Afrikaner. During our conversations, he repeatedly pointed out that the original meaning of the word ‘Boer’ was ‘peasant’. This assertion was related to a general claim to the land, symbolized in the exhibition at the Erfennissentrum by a large panel showing a pair of, strong white hands holding a mound of dark fertile soil. The panel inscription stated “… want my lewe hier maak ‘n verskil …” (… because my life here makes a difference …). It was a quotation from Anton Rupert, a South African multi-billionaire and philanthropist, co-founder of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and sponsor of the Genealogical Institute.

The symbolism of ‘blood and soil’ seems far removed from the ideology of unity in diversity that the cultural politics of the African Renaissance had proclaimed as the foundation of national identity in post-apartheid South Africa. For Smit, there was no South African nation, only an Afrikaner nation, and for this he demanded an autonomous state, because “no nation should be ruled over by any other nation—especially not if different races and cultures are involved.” Hans Smit was determined to keep the borders intact. And if he could not succeed in doing this in his everyday life, he could at least do so through the genealogical imagination as a “descendant of the first Europeans.”

Biography II: Forced Removals, Genetic Ancestry, and ‘Coloured’ Subjectivity

I first met Frederick Zietsman in 2012 when I engaged with members of the Coloured community of Simon's Town who had participated in a DNA sampling exercise of the Genographic Project five years earlier (see Schramm 2015). Like many other communities in and around Cape Town, Simon's Town had been harshly affected by apartheid forced removals. Between 1967 and 1976, around 4,000 people were relocated from their long-term homes to the new township of Ocean View on the other side of the Cape peninsula. Soon after the end of apartheid, former residents came together at the local museum and formed the so-called Phoenix Committee to commemorate communal life in Simon's Town and the trauma of forced removals. An important part of the collective memory cultivated by the Phoenix Committee was that of ‘racial harmony’ in the neighborhood. Zietsman, who was a member of the committee, spoke very fondly of his childhood memories of Simon's Town. He showed me a photograph of his extended family surrounding his maternal grandmother, “a good Afrikaner lady,” and her husband, the son of a liberated slave and “Krooman” sailor from Sierra Leone. To him, this image and the romance between his grandparents represented the story of Simon's Town as a color-blind utopia that had been destroyed by the divisive apartheid politics: “Years back when we were living in Simon's Town … the families were all close to each other … But … with the forced removals—then we grew apart” (interview, 21 February 2012).

For his own family, this division became sharply marked when his grandmother died. Under the laws of the Population Registration and Group Areas Acts, none of the Coloured family members were allowed to visit their grandmother on her deathbed “except this aunty [who] was the fairest of all the children. No grandchildren, no children … So you can see the hurt. It went further than just being told you go in there and you can't go in there because that's the White side and that's the non-White side, you know? So the hurt was more because people actually were refused entrance to seeing their grandmother or mother who was dying.”

When Soodyall and her team provided free genetic ancestry testing for the Coloured community of Simon's Town, Frederick Zietsman took part in it. The sampling exercise, which was deliberately attached to the commemorative setting of the Phoenix Committee, seemed to provide an opportunity to reaffirm people's identity in terms of both communal and individual belonging in the new South Africa. The advertisement in the local newspaper read: “People who allow their DNA to be tested will be able to find out from where their earliest ancestors originated.” For the members of the Phoenix Committee who were interested in the history of their families and for the old community of Simon's Town, this advertisement had great appeal, and 100 people participated in the testing. The overall picture asserted the narrative of mixture and unity in diversity—as haplogroups pointed toward Asia, West Africa, Europe, and Khoisan indigenous as possible points of origin. Soodyall described the proceedings: “So we took a random sample of DNA and … [got] a subset of the history of South Africa … an unbiased record through DNA” (interview, 12 December 2011). However, the very reliance on ‘Coloured’ DNA donors itself already reveals how complex and historically and politically loaded the production of the data set was to begin with. Moreover, the results did not speak for themselves but had to be interpreted and understood in relation to the racial regime of apartheid, genealogical conventions, and present political subjectivities.

Frederick Zietsman, for example, ended up with the same results as Hans Smit. His paternal haplogroup was R1a1, and his maternal result was U5—both indicating European origins in the explanatory framework of the Genographic Project. Whereas Hans Smit could draw the conclusion that “I am as much a European as you are,” this was hardly the case for Zietsman. On an individual level, the complexities of his family history were not accessible through the testing; indeed, they were literally written out of it. He already knew that there were also Europeans among his ancestors. During apartheid, many families would have emphasized such genealogical linkages, following a ‘White’ or at least ‘fair’ ideal. Some members of his own family could have passed for White but decided to stay with their relatives, with all the ensuing consequences—including the loss of their home in Simon's Town. DNA ancestry testing did not dissolve these entanglements between different historical layers of inclusion and exclusion, and the association of the measuring result with Europe was certainly not a neutral point of reference. Moreover, the fact that Smit and Zietsman shared the same haplogroup but formed part of different sampling populations (‘White/general public’ vs. ‘Coloured/indigenous’) undermines the stated neutrality of the genomic archive and the evidentiary practices connected to it.

Conclusion

I have examined the life of the genomic archive in post-apartheid South Africa to better understand the slippery character of race and its complex articulations in overlapping and contradictory measurements of kinship and relatedness. By critically analyzing the multi-layered constructions (backstory) and ambivalent interpretations (biography) of the genomic archive, I have shown how scientific and political categorizations relate to one another, often in surprising and unintended ways. In the rhetoric of scientific authority as the basis for a non-racial post-apartheid future, the genomic archive appears as a stable, truthful, and incorruptible source of information, defined by clearly demarcated borders (the body, DNA) and neutral ordering principles (haplogroups, population affinities). These measurements are put in place to distinguish the archive from the messy outside, such as the unscientific and politically motivated race classification of apartheid, for example.

But the idea of origins that lies at the heart of population genomics cannot be fixed; instead, it needs to be put in perspective. Haplogroups emerge from one another, the spread of these groups is not bound to conventional ideas of population boundaries (even though there are statistical alignments), and classification is rather arbitrary (e.g., related to the level of visual resolution). Equally ambiguous are the various ideas of kinship and genealogical closeness or distance connected to them. Depending on the framework in which they are put, they tell different truths. Hans Smit, for example, used genetic genealogy to connect his individual life to the first Europeans and an associated ideal Whiteness, while the South African Genographic Project, which provided his maternal ancestry test, produced an opposite rhetoric of common human origins or inclusive Africanness (even if projected into the distant past). Whereas Smit was clearly holding onto an apartheid understanding of race, the Genographic narrative attempted to break away from that perception by rhetorically refuting biological race and emphasizing diversity and relatedness instead.

By unraveling the backstories of these classificatory practices and forms of measuring, along with their indicators and modes of display, I have shown how the seemingly opposing strategies of objective science, racial common sense, and political ideology are closely interlinked in and through genetic genealogies. My discussion of the biography of the genomic archive has revealed how scientific practice, political history, and individual life stories intersect, producing contingent outcomes that may stabilize as well as disturb archival power relations. Finally, even if the interpretation of the genomic data is flexible and dynamic, it is important to recognize the highly politicized historical trajectories that inform not only these interpretations but also the very data on which they rest.

Acknowledgments

This article has benefited from the generosity of the people who let me into their lives and workspaces and shared their knowledge with me. In particular, I thank Himla Soodyall and her team, the members of the Phoenix Committee in Simon's Town, as well as the staff of the Simon's Town Museum. Carolyn Hamilton and members of the Archive and Public Culture Research Initiative at the University of Cape Town commented on various drafts, for which I am grateful. Finally, I thank Tatjana Thelen and Christof Lammer for inviting me to contribute to this special issue and for their firm editorial assistance. I would like to acknowledge support of the Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence at the University of Bayreuth, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), grant number EXC 2052/1–390713894.

Notes

1

The notion of the ‘cradle of humankind’ conjoined paleoanthropology, archaeology, and population genomics in striking ways (see Bonner et al. 2007).

2

After the complete sequencing of the mitochondrial genome was announced in 1981, studies in population genomics have proliferated. At the time under consideration here, state-of-the-art scientific practice was based on the comparison of statistically significant differences in population-specific mutation clusters (haplogroups) on non-coding, non-recombinable parts of DNA (mitochondrial for female ‘lines’, Y-chromosomal for male ‘lines’). For a detailed account and profound criticism of the procedures, see M'charek (2005).

3

Between July 2011 and February 2012, I conducted intensive fieldwork in both Cape Town and Johannesburg where I focused on the public discourse and heritage displays, the scientific practices of genetic sampling and analysis, as well as lay interpretations and political claims linked to genetic ancestry testing. Since then, I have been regularly following up on these issues through annual visits and media reviews.

4

I have anonymized the names of my lay interlocutors to protect their identities.

5

My argument is embedded in the larger framework of critical discussions in science and technology studies on the relationship between race and genomics. See Rajagopalan et al. (2017) for an overview.

6

Trefor Jenkins was the doyen of population genetics in South Africa from the 1960s onward. He is also known for his opposition to apartheid, especially through his involvement in the critical investigation of Steve Biko's death. Himla Soodyall, his former student, has published extensively on human origins and the role of population genetics in fighting the racist ideology of apartheid (e.g., Soodyall 2003). From its inception in 2005, she has also been the Principal Investigator of the South African branch of the Genographic Project. The third author, Bharti Morar, was a PhD student at the time.

7

One should note that when Refiguring the Archive was published, most of the critical literature on race and genomics had not yet appeared. Moreover, science and technology studies (STS) debates on epistemic cultures and the practice of scientific knowledge making were not necessarily in conversation with critical historical scholarship of a more Foucauldian orientation.

8

I borrow the expression in the heading from Ian Hacking (1986).

9

The Genographic Project has been profoundly criticized for its sampling and classificatory practices, its commercial orientation, and its representational and interpretative strategies (see Nash 2015).

10

The notion of ‘community’ is important to population geneticists, who often understand it to correlate with population.

11

The program they worked with was SPECTRUM. On the more flexible dynamics of another program, EIGENSTRAT, see Fujimura and Rajagopalan (2011).

12

On the use of genealogical charts in law, medicine, and eugenics respectively, see Chelcea, Jabloner, and McKinnon, all in this issue.

13

Zimitri Erasmus (2017: 115) provides a profound critique of this genealogical imagination and the genetic notion of a ‘founder population’ that derived from it.

14

The reference to the East refers to Indonesia, from where the Dutch East India Company brought many enslaved people to the Cape.

15

We met for two interviews and exchanged e-mails.

16

AIMs (ancestry informative markers) point toward population-specific statistical differences in cellular DNA. Some commercial companies test for AIMs and link them to admixture mapping of different (conventional) racial components (e.g., African, Asian, European) in an individual (Shriver and Kittles 2004).

References

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    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
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    • Search Google Scholar
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    • Export Citation
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    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schuster, Stephan C., Webb Miller, Aakrosh Ratan, Lynn P. Tomsho, et al. 2010. “Complete Khoisan and Bantu Genomes from Southern Africa.” Nature 463: 943947. https://doi.org./10.1038/nature08795.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Shriver, Mark D., and Rick A. Kittles. 2004. “Opinion: Genetic Ancestry and the Search for Personalized Genetic Histories.” Nature Reviews Genetics 5 (8): 611618. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrg1405

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sommer, Marianne. 2016. History Within: The Science, Culture, and Politics of Bones, Organisms, and Molecules. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Soodyall, Himla. 2003. “Reflections and Prospects for Anthropological Genetics in South Africa.” In Goodman et al. 2003, 200216.

  • Soodyall, Himla, Bharti Morar, and Trefor Jenkins. 2002. “The Human Genome as Archive: Some Illustrations from the South.” In Hamilton et al. 2002b, 179191.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stoler, Ann Laura. 2009. Along the Archival Grain: Epistemic Anxieties and Colonial Common Sense. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

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Contributor Notes

Katharina Schramm holds the Chair for Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Bayreuth and heads the working group “Anthropology of Global Inequalities.” Her research in Southern Africa, West Africa, and Europe focuses on the complex articulations of race at the interface of scientific and political practice. She is the author of African Homecoming: Pan-African Ideology and Contested Heritage (2010) and co-editor of Identity Politics and the New Genetics: Re/Creating Categories of Difference and Belonging (2012). She has edited a number of special issues, including “Technologies of Belonging” (Science, Technology, & Human Values, 2014) and “Political Subjectivities in Times of Transformation” (Critical African Studies, 2019). E-mail: katharina.schramm@uni-bayreuth.de

Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology

  • Bonner, Philip, Amanda Esterhuysen, and Trefor Jenkins, eds. 2007. A Search for Origins: Science, History and South Africa's ‘Cradle of Humankind’. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bowker, Geoffrey C. 2005. Memory Practices in the Sciences. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  • Bowker, Geoffrey C., and Susan Leigh Star. 1999. “The Case of Race Classification and Reclassification under Apartheid.” In Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences, 195225. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Breckenridge, Keith. 2014. Biometric State: The Global Politics of Identification and Surveillance in South Africa, 1850 to the Present. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bystrom, Kerry. 2009. “The DNA of the Democratic South Africa: Ancestral Maps, Family Trees, Genealogical Fictions.” Journal of Southern African Studies 35 (1): 223235. https://doi.org/10.1080/03057070802685668

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chisholm, Linda, and Séan Morrow. 2007. “Government, Universities and the HSRC: A Perspective on the Past and Present.” Transformation: Critical Perspectives on Southern Africa 63: 4567. https://doi.org/10.1353/trn.2007.0015.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Derrida, Jacques. 1995. “Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression.” Diacritics 25 (2): 963. https://doi.org/10.2307/465144

  • Erasmus, Zimitri. 2017. Race Otherwise: Forging a New Humanism for South Africa. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.

  • Fassin, Didier, and Estelle d'Halluin. 2005. “The Truth from the Body: Medical Certificates as Ultimate Evidence for Asylum Seekers.” American Anthropologist 107 (4): 597608. https://doi.org/10.1525/aa.2005.107.4.597

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Foster, Laura A. 2016. “A Postapartheid Genome: Genetic Ancestry Testing and Belonging in South Africa.” Science, Technology, & Human Values 41 (6): 10151036. https://doi.org/10.1177/0162243916658771

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fujimura, Joan H., and Ramya Rajagopalan. 2011. “Different Differences: The Use of ‘Genetic Ancestry’ versus Race in Biomedical Human Genetic Research.” Social Studies of Science 41 (1): 530. http://doi.org/10.1177/0306312710379170

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Goodman, Alan H., Deborah Heath, and M. Susan Lindee, eds. 2003. Genetic Nature/Culture: Anthropology and Science beyond the Two-Culture Divide. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hacking, Ian. 1986. “Making Up People.” In Reconstructing Individualism: Autonomy, Individuality, and the Self in Western Thought, ed. Thomas C. Heller and Christine Brooke-Rose, 222236. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hamilton, Carolyn. 2011. “Backstory, Biography, and the Life of the James Stuart Archive.” History in Africa 38: 319341. https://doi.org/10.1353/hia.2011.0015.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hamilton, Carolyn, Verne Harris, and Graeme Reid. 2002a. “Introduction.” In Hamilton et al. 2002b, 718.

  • Hamilton, Carolyn, Verne Harris, Jane Taylor, Michele Pickover, Graeme Reid, and Razia Saleh, eds. 2002b. Refiguring the Archive. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Haraway, Donna J. 1995. “Universal Donors in a Vampire Culture: It's All in the Family: Biological Kinship Categories in the Twentieth-Century United States.” In Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature, ed. William Cronon, 321375. New York: W. W. Norton.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mangcu, Xolela, ed. 2011. Becoming Worthy Ancestors: Archive, Public Deliberation and Identity in South Africa. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McDougall, Kathleen Lorne. 2014. “Just Living: Genealogic, Honesty and the Politics of Apartheid Time.” Anthropology Southern Africa 37 (1–2): 1929. https://doi.org/10.1080/23323256.2014.940187.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • M'charek, Amade. 2005. The Human Genome Diversity Project: An Ethnography of Scientific Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • M'charek, Amade, Katharina Schramm, and David Skinner. 2014. “Technologies of Belonging: The Absent Presence of Race in Europe.” Science, Technology, & Human Values 39 (4): 459467.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nash, Catherine. 2012. “Irish DNA: Making Connections and Making Distinctions in Y-Chromosome Surname Studies.” In Identity Politics and the New Genetics: Re/Creating Categories of Difference and Belonging, ed. Katharina Schramm, David Skinner, and Richard Rottenburg, 141166. New York: Berghahn Books.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nash, Catherine. 2015. Genetic Geographies: The Trouble with Ancestry. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

  • Panofsky, Aaron, and Joan Donovan. 2019. “Genetic Ancestry Testing among White Nationalists: From Identity Repair to Citizen Science.” Social Studies of Science 49 (5): 653681. https://doi.org/10.1177/0306312719861434

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Posel, Deborah. 2001. “Race as Common Sense: Racial Classification in Twentieth-Century South Africa.” African Studies Review 44 (2): 87113. https://doi.org/10.2307/525576

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rajagopalan, Ramya M., Alondra Nelson, and Joan H. Fujimura. 2017. “Race and Science in the Twenty-First Century.” In The Handbook of Science and Technology Studies, 4th ed., ed. Ulrike Felt, Rayvon Fouché, Clark A. Miller, and Laurel Smith-Doerr, 349378. Cambridge Mass: MIT Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schramm, Katharina. 2015. “Wie Phönix aus der Asche: Klassifikation, Erinnerungspolitik und Populationsgenetik in Südafrika” [Like Phoenix from the ashes: Classification, memory politics, and population genetics in South Africa]. Sociologus 65 (2): 201223. https://www.jstor.org/stable/24755113.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schuster, Stephan C., Webb Miller, Aakrosh Ratan, Lynn P. Tomsho, et al. 2010. “Complete Khoisan and Bantu Genomes from Southern Africa.” Nature 463: 943947. https://doi.org./10.1038/nature08795.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Shriver, Mark D., and Rick A. Kittles. 2004. “Opinion: Genetic Ancestry and the Search for Personalized Genetic Histories.” Nature Reviews Genetics 5 (8): 611618. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrg1405

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sommer, Marianne. 2016. History Within: The Science, Culture, and Politics of Bones, Organisms, and Molecules. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Soodyall, Himla. 2003. “Reflections and Prospects for Anthropological Genetics in South Africa.” In Goodman et al. 2003, 200216.

  • Soodyall, Himla, Bharti Morar, and Trefor Jenkins. 2002. “The Human Genome as Archive: Some Illustrations from the South.” In Hamilton et al. 2002b, 179191.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stoler, Ann Laura. 2009. Along the Archival Grain: Epistemic Anxieties and Colonial Common Sense. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tamarkin, Noah. 2020. Genetic Afterlives: Black Jewish Indigeneity in South Africa. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

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