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Book Launch: 'Mestizo Genomics: Race Mixture, Nature and Science in Latin America'

Publication date: Sep 3, 2013 4:20:18 PM

Start: May 28, 2014 5:30:00 PM
End: May 28, 2014 7:30:00 PM

Location: UCL-Institute of the Americas, 51 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PN

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Introduced by co-author Peter Wade (Manchester). In genetics laboratories in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico, scientists have been mapping the genomes of local populations, seeking to locate the genetic basis of complex diseases and trace population histories. As part of their work, geneticists often calculate the European, African and Amerindian genetic ancestry of populations and some scientists link their findings explicitly to questions of national identity, racial-ethnic difference and (anti-)racism, bringing their science to bear on issues of politics and identity.

Based on research in the labs and beyond, this book explores how the concepts of ‘race’, ethnicity, nation and gender enter into genomics and asks whether these concepts are reproduced, challenged and/or reformulated. The authors link current genomics to recent moves towards official multiculturalism in these countries and trace the implications of geneticized images of the nation for citizenship and social inclusion/exclusion.

This is one of the first studies to examine the interrelations between ‘race’, identity and genomics in Latin America, where national identities are based frequently based on ideas about mestizaje (race mixture), rather than racial division. 

Peter Wade (Social Anthropology, University of Manchester) is an anthropologist who has published widely on issues of racial, ethnic and national identities in Latin America, particularly Colombia. His books include Race, ethnicity and nation: perspectives from kinship and genetics (ed.) and Race and Sex in Latin America. He was director of the project that led to the book, Mestizo Genomics.

Attendance is free of charge but registration is required.