Dissertation

msscLink to CV
My research focuses on media portrayals of African American genetic genealogy consumers as an exemplary case study in media constructions of race and genomics. I situate emerging discourses surrounding direct-to-consumer DNA ancestry testing within wider politics of representation, identity politics, and preoccupations with origins.

My dissertation, “Reel DNA Ancestry: How the Mediation of Genomics Represents the Myth of Biological Race as Real” researches the ways that direct-to-consumer genetic ancestry testing, genealogy, and popular racialized notions of biology are mediated and remediated through documentary films, television, and the Internet. I argue that media portrayals of the explanatory powers, mystical meanings, or sacred status of DNA and genetic data presently converging upon direct-to-consumer genetic ancestry testing involve remediating cultural and archival memory while concurrently mediating genomic science; putting memory to work for the construction of “usable pasts”, new DNA ethnicities, and speculative genomic futures.

For more information, read the chapter, “Mediated Science, Genetics and Identity in the U.S. African Diaspora” in Media, Spiritualities, and Social Change, Stewart Hoover and Monica Emerich, eds. (London; New York: Continuum Press, 2011).

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