Battle engages the ways the language of genetic diversity and history of racial admixture
in the United States frame the logic of African American female participation in genomic
research. He defines participation here as a form of gift exchange. Following Hyland
(2009), he situates gift exchange in culture, not the law. He borrows the term Diversity
Science from one of my narrators to describe knowledge production emerging from the
recruitment of biological and racial difference, in genomic research. Drawing on multi-sited
fieldwork in Silicon Valley, the Research Triangle, as well as archival work at John’s
Hopkins, he will present two interrelated examples: he will begin with an ethnographic
narrative outlining the imagined strategic role of diversity in pharmaceutical research.
The second example engages how researchers in my project viewed US African Americans
both in terms of tracing sub-Saharan ancestry as well as an admixed population. He
will show that race served as a proxy in these narratives of diversity, sub-Saharan
ancestry and genetic admixture. He submits that historical inequalities embedded within
these narratives reflect complex sets of social relationships of biological consequence.
These social relationships, he will summarize, shape forms of exchange and notions
of trust. He will conclude in emphasizing that genomic research into sub-Saharan ancestry
and admixture underlines the methodological importance of analyzing gender before
attempting to understand the notion of race.
James Battle received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley/University of California, San Francisco Joint Medical Anthropology Program. His research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of diaspora and transnational studies, science, technology and society studies, development studies, and global health. He is currently a University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he works with Jenny Reardon at the Science and Justice Research Center and the Race, Genomics, and Media Working Group. He is also a member of the Center for Translational Genomic Research Working Group at the University of California, San Francisco.
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