Is nationalizing universalizing and/or vice-versa? A review essay on Elise K. Burton, Genetic Crossroads: The Middle East and the science of human heredity, Stanford University Press, 2021. Ian McGonigle, Genomic Citizenship: the molecularization of identity in the contemporary Middle East. The MIT Press 2021

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

This is a review essay of two books published in 2021 on the history of human heredity-genetics/genomics investigations—in the Middle East. Both books are structured comparatively. Both books grapple with the many uses of biology in nationalizing projects in the Middle East and the unavoidable tension between these particularizing projects and the scientific claim of biology to universality. Furthermore, both grapple with issues of classifications of humans and their uses in biology: the presumably biological human classifications of race, ethnos, and ancestry, and the properly sociocultural ones, such as historical-traditional, by language, by religion. Combined, the two books offer a keen gaze on the complex entwinement of genetics and nationalism in the Middle East from WWI to the present.

Original languageEnglish
Article number45
JournalHistory and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Volume44
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Keywords

  • Disease
  • Genetics
  • Local
  • Nation
  • Race
  • Universal(izing)

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