Degrees of Mixture, Degrees of Freedom: Genomics, Multiculturalism, and Race in Latin America
JOURNAL OF LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES
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Abel, S. (2019). Degrees of Mixture, Degrees of Freedom: Genomics, Multiculturalism, and Race in Latin America. JOURNAL OF LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES, 51 (3), 728-730. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022216X19000828
What potential do genomic knowledge and technologies hold to transform concepts of race, and offer new inspiration for democratic and anti-racist practices? These questions are at the heart of Peter Wade’s most recent book, which draws on rich data collected over three years through the interdisciplinary project ‘Race, Genomics and Mestizaje in Latin America’ (2010-2013). Following on from the collected volume Mestizo Genomics (2015, Duke University Press), which provided detailed ethnographic accounts of scientific practices observed in genetic laboratories in Colombia, Brazil and Mexico, Degrees of Mixture offers a comprehensive overview of how ‘mixture’ (mestizaje/mestiçagem) has figured in science and society in these three Latin American countries, from the early twentieth century to the present. The work is organised into three parts: the first providing an summary of the development of concepts of race and mixture in human genetics internationally, and a brief history of genetic science in Latin America; the second, an in-depth analysis of genetic programmes led by scientists in Colombia, Brazil and Mexico, drawing on examples from evolutionary, medical and forensic genetics; and the third, an examination of how genetic studies are used to interpret the racial and sexual dynamics of colonial histories, and the extent to which genetic narratives have come to shape public conceptions of race and mixture in these societies.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022216X19000828
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/313101
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