Book forum — Alondra Nelson’s The Social Life of DNA

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In The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome, Alondra Nelson traces the multiple ways in which genetic testing and related technologies have become entangled in contemporary debates, projects, politics, and interventions surrounding race in the United States.  This wide-ranging and incisive book manages the difficult task of being a key addition to the scholarly literatures on race, science, and society, at the same time as it reaches out to broader, non-specialist audiences.  We are very happy to offer the following commentaries on this important book.


The Big Reveal, Thoughts on The Social Life of DNA
Arlene Dávila
New York University

“Are These the Bones of Blacks?” An African American Social Construction of Justice
Jessica Marie Johnson
Johns Hopkins University

Molecular Biological Ambivalences
Stephan Palmié
The University of Chicago

Genetic Ancestry as an Optic: Reconciliation Revisioned, Diaspora Revived
Noah Tamarkin
The Ohio State University


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