DNA, RACE, AND HISTORY (Friday-Saturday, April 18-19, 2008)
Center for Race and Ethnicity, Rutgers University
CONFERENCE: Call for Proposals. DEADLINE: December 15, 2007
DATE: Friday-Saturday, April 18-19, 2008
LOCATION: Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
• Keith Wailoo, Director, Center for Race and Ethnicity/History/Health Policy, Rutgers
• Mia Bay, Associate Director, Center for Race and Ethnicity/History, Rutgers
• Catherine Lee, Sociology, Rutgers
• Alondra Nelson, African-American Studies, American Studies, and Sociology, Yale
Although scholars have long agreed that race is a social rather than genetic or biological reality, recent trends in DNA analysis have blurred this distinction. Across societies, genetic evidence is being called upon to perform a kind of racially-charged cultural work – to repair and recast the past, and to reshape identity in the present. Today, genetic markers are discussed often as a proxy for race and ethnicity, lending renewed authority to biological conceptions of human difference. Employed for diverse purposes including genealogy, anthropology, evolutionary biology, medicine, and public history, genetic evidence promises to reshape understandings of individual and collective ancestry, the histories of particular social groups, and the significance of race in history and in the present.
This conference brings together scholars from a wide range of disciplines – history, cultural studies, genetics, law, medicine, anthropology, ethnic studies, sociology, and other fields – to examine the emerging and often contested connections between race, DNA, and history.
We welcome papers on a variety of topics, including the historical use of DNA in biomedicine and the social sciences, the implications of the use of DNA in law, epidemiology, and other fields, the historical uses and misuses of genetic information, the cultural and scientific crafting of genetic evidence into genetic assertion, the way in which genetic testing is reshaping understandings of group identity, both within and across cultural and national boundaries, and the cultural, ethical, social, and philosophical challenges raised by relying upon DNA to resolve questions of history and identity.
The DNA, RACE, AND HISTORY conference will consist of a series of intensive panel discussions of short pre-circulated papers (15-30 pages).
Paper proposals (DUE by DECEMBER 15, 2007) should be no more than 1-2 pages in length, should engage intersections between race, history, and the mapping, testing, analysis, and cultural meanings of DNA in and beyond the United States, and should provide a platform for broad, cross-disciplinary discussion.
Travel and accommodation expenses relating to conference will be covered by the Center for Race and Ethnicity. Interested participants are asked to submit their paper proposals to Jeffrey Dowd (firstname.lastname@example.org). We expect that an edited volume will be published from the proceedings.
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