Call for contributors “Biomapping – Indigenous Identities”
In the 19th Century, as Europe’s white settler colonies were being expanded and consolidated, research on the world’s Indigenous peoples, reflecting the racial ideology of the era, sought to demonstrate the cultural inferiority and evolutionary backwardness of non-European populations. In the late 20th Century, a rising awareness among Indigenous peoples worldwide, both of their common experience of colonization and of the many cultural affinities they shared, led to political activism in certain groups and to an overall reflection on how Indigenousness could/should be defined.
Meanwhile, in the hard sciences, genomics was seen as a color-blind study of the differentiation of humans. While racial typology based on skin color and morphology (phenotype) were considered racist, the genotype was seen as objective and several international projects undertook the study of the human genome of various population groups. Rapidly dissolving minority groups were studied with a sense of urgency.
Suspicious from the start of the real motives behind any scientific research targeting their groups, Indigenous activists claimed that it would be preferable to address the reasons for the demise of the Indigenous groups rather than harvesting their genes while letting them die out. They also realized that, in a context where ethnic differences were being viewed as mere variations of the human genome, the very specificity of their Indigenous identity was at risk. Their main fears were that some of them, if not most, being of mixed ancestry, a study of their DNA might reveal information that could compromise their claim to Indigenousness. If such were the case, they risked being considered as just another group of migrants whose specificity would be reduced to their date of arrival.
At the University of Savoie, France, after having worked on Indigenous discourse on “Biomapping” for the last 3 years, we are now planning a book and are seeking articles from Indigenous and non-Indigenous specialists and scholars on the following topics:
- Ethnicity – both cultural and genetic
- The rights of indigenous peoples to their resources (in the broadest sense of the term)
- “Miscegenation” and the question of mixed ancestry
- Ethics and the meaning of “informed consent”
- The perception of genetic research by indigenous peoples;
- Case studies of genetic research concerning indigenous peoples;
Areas of enquiry may include but are not limited to the fields of: genomics, politics, biomedical research, the history of science, and philosophy.
Length of articles: between 10 and 20 pages (i.e. 25.000 to 50.000 characters, including spaces, footnotes, bibliography.)
Chapter proposals of approximately 500 words (accompanied by a brief biographical note) must be submitted by: June 15, 2010
You will be informed whether your proposal has been accepted by: June 30, 2010
Full chapters are required by: October 30, 2010
Susanne Berthier (University of Savoie, France) firstname.lastname@example.org
Sandrine Tolazzi (University of Grenoble, France) email@example.com
Sheila Collingwood-Whittick (University of Grenoble, France) firstname.lastname@example.org
Prof. Susanne Berthier-Foglar
Domaine Universitaire de Jacob-Bellecombette
73011 Chambéry Cedex
phone: +33 4 79 75 84 79
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