Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2010-03 > 1269187534

From: steven perkins <>
Subject: [DNA] Symposium: Africa, African Diaspora, Genetics and Genealogy
Date: Sun, 21 Mar 2010 12:05:34 -0400

This was held on March 12th:

Details are here:

Africa, African Diaspora, Genetics and Genealogy
A symposium to be held March 12

"The symposium “Africa, African Diaspora, Genetics and Genealogy" is
the capstone to a year-long seminar devoted to an exploration of the
place of the new science of DNA testing in recent African diaspora
scholarly and popular culture. There are particularly two quite
significant developments, one of which is entirely new: (1) the
application of discoveries in the science of genetics to the
historically vexed scholarly issue of where specifically in Africa the
ancestors of particular diaspora Africans might have come from, and
(2) the surprise of a popular African American interest in the issue.
Both of these—the latter, especially—have led to a cottage industry of
DNA testing companies targeted at African Americans promising to
scientifically help them trace their roots. So in addition to
scholarly publications, there are now popular video series explaining
the DNA testing process itself and its possibilities, as well as
tracing the genealogies of notable African Americans, for education
and entertainment. One example is the Takeaway Media Production’s
famous Motherland series (Motherland: A Genetic Journey and
Motherland: Moving On) broadcast by the BBC in 2003. Revealingly, the
series is employed as a promotion by a testing company named, without
irony, Roots For Real: Your Ancestry Discovered. Its website, listing
costs both of film and tests, earnestly advises visitors to “[c]hoose
the BBC film for a pioneering example of our DNA service.” But perhaps
the most well-known series is African American Lives, made by the
Harvard professor of African American Studies, Henry Louis Gates, Jr.,
and first broadcast by the PBS in 2006; a sequel followed in 2008.
Gates also recently launched a Washington Post-supported online
magazine,, linked to a genetic testing company,

The Symposium will examine the impacts of recent advances in Genetics
and DNA testing on understandings of the African diaspora. It will
include presentations from prominent geneticists and anthropologists
followed by a question and answer session as well as a more loosely
formatted conversation between participants of assorted academic
backgrounds and levels, including four participants who had their
roots “traced” this year."

Steven C. Perkins
Online Journal of Genetics and Genealogy
Steven C. Perkins' Genealogy Page
Steven C. Perkins' Genealogy Blog

This thread: