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Decoding Racial Ideology in Genomics

Johnny E. Williams - Foreword by Joseph L. Graves Jr.

Although the human genome exists apart from society, knowledge about it is produced through socially-created language and interactions. As such, genomicists’ thinking is informed by their inability to escape the wake of the ‘race’ concept. This book investigates how racism makes genomics and how genomics makes racism and ‘race,’ and the consequences of these constructions. Specifically, Williams explores how racial ideology works in genomics. The simple assumption that frames the book is that ‘race’ as an ideology justifying a system of oppression is persistently recreated as a practical and familiar way to understand biological reality. This book reveals that genomicists’ preoccupation with ‘race’regardless of good or ill intentcontributes to its perception as a category of differences that is scientifically rigorous. « less more »
Lexington Books
Pages: 176Size: 6 1/4 x 9 1/2
978-0-7391-4895-2 • Hardback • May 2016 • $80.00 • (£52.95)
978-0-7391-4897-6 • eBook • May 2016 • $79.99 • (£52.95)
Johnny E. Williams is associate professor of sociology at Trinity College.
Foreword, Joseph L. Graves, Jr.

Chapter 1: Genomics’ ‘Race’ Legacy
Chapter 2: Socialized Interpreters
Chapter 3: Racialized Culture—Genomic Nexus
Chapter 4: Racialization via Assertions of Objectivity and Heuristic Practice
Chapter 5: ‘Bad Science’ Discourse as Covering for Racial Thinking
Chapter 6: Reorienting Genomics
Williams’ Decoding Racial Ideology excavates and reveals the many ways in which genomic studies of racial differences are typically grounded in deep-seated common lay assumptions about race. In so doing, he contributes to a growing body of literature that documents how, in this era of “Post-Genomics”, lay racial thinking persists and remains embedded in much human genetic research.
Troy Duster, Emeritus Chancellor's Professor, University of California, Berkeley