New Books in Science, Technology, and Society: Native American DNA
Kim TallBear’s new book transcends academic disciplines. Bringing together STS, Native American and Indigenous Studies, histories of science and race, ethnography, and cultural studies, Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science (University of Minnesota Press, 2013) traces a genealogy of “Native American DNA” as an object, an instrument, and an idea. Gripping and important on many levels, TallBear’s book situates the emergence of genetic notions of racial and tribal identity within broader histories and debates over notions of blood, race, and tribe; within a history and ethnography of DNA profiling from the perspective of both DNA-testing companies and the consumers of “genetic genealogy;” and within a study of the business of genetic research as manifest in the “Genographic Project.” TallBear’s book closes by offering specific, concrete ideas for more productively engaging genetic science and native peoples in the future. It is a must-read for anyone interested in the co-production of technoscience and identity in the modern world.