Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Trim: 6 x 9
978-1-4422-7456-3 • Hardback • January 2019 • $38.00 • (£29.00)
978-1-4422-7457-0 • eBook • January 2019 • $36.00 • (£28.00)
Jackie Hogan is professor of sociology and director of the anthropology and Asian studies programs at Bradley University. She is the author of the award-winning Lincoln, Inc.: Selling the Sixteenth President in Contemporary America and Gender, Race, and National Identity: Nations of Flesh and Blood. Her writing has appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Huffington Post, and others.
1 Roots Quests: An Introduction
Evidence and Approach
“We’re Hopelessly Addicted”: The Nature of American Roots Quests
Understanding Roots Quests
2 A Genealogy of American Genealogy
Old World and American Aristocratic Genealogy
American Democratic Genealogy
Eugenic, Nationalistic, and Aspirational Genealogy
Multicultural, Self-Revelatory Genealogy
Why “Quantum” Genealogy?
3 Roots Work: Genealogy across Cultures
The Psychological Effects of Roots Work
The Identity Effects of Roots Work
The Social Order Effects of Roots Work
The Universality of Roots Work: Understanding Homo genealogicus
4 Memory Work in the Age of Quantum Genealogy
Modernity and Memory
The Past Isn’t What It Used to Be
Mortality, Immortality, and Memory
The Working Dead
The Enchanted Dead
Memory Work and Quantum Genealogy
5 The New Blood Quantum: Genetic Genealogy and the Creation of Kinship
Blood, Genetics, and Identity
Genetic Genealogy: The Promises and the Problems
The Dual Potential of Genetic Genealogy
Genetic Genealogy and the Hunger for Substance
Genetic Genealogy and the Creation of Kinship
6 Who Do We Think We Are? Televised Roots Quests
The Anatomy of the Televised Roots Quest
And the Moral of the Story Is . . .
Televised Roots Quests: “Fabulous” and Flawed
Virtual Realities, Virtual Identities, and Virtual Kinship
7 In Search of the “Living Dead”: Ancestors, Zombies, and American Roots Quests
“They’re Hoping We Don’t Forget Them”: The Sacralization of American Genealogy
“Turn the Heart of the Children to Their Fathers”: The LDS Genealogical Mission
Zombies and Roots Quests: A Sign of the Times?
8 Imagined Homes: Roots Tourism and the Quest for Self
Irish Gatherings and African Homecomings
9 Our Ancestors, Ourselves: Roots and Identity in an Age of Rootlessness
Roots Quests and the Commodification of Identity
[Hogan] presents a well-researched treatise on various aspects of genealogy. Rather than a how-to, this is an in-depth exploration of the emotional, social, philosophical, and psychological reasons why people want to know where they came from. . . . The end result of a true roots quest, then, is not so much about solving a mystery as it is about deepening one's self-identity and sense of belonging. Additionally, readers will discover the limits of DNA testing and why vast differences separate a tourist searching for her Irish roots versus someone searching for his Ghanaian ones. . . . a rich addition. — Booklist
In Roots Quest, Hogan applies her academic training in sociology and anthropology to examine why the US is experiencing a surge of interest in genealogy. Television programs like Who Do You Think You Are? and Finding Your Roots allow audiences to follow along as celebrities examine their family trees. Hogan discusses what motivates the rest of us to look into our family’s past using data gathered from interviews, participation in genealogy conferences and “roots tourism,” and content analysis of genealogy-focused media. Of particular interest is the discussion surrounding the ways in which recent changes to society (including globalization, secularization, and the virtualization of relationships) may cause isolation and disconnectedness, and how genealogical research may offer a way for individuals to better understand their own identities and place in their communities. . . . While Roots Quest is supported by research and includes chapter notes and a bibliography, it is written for a general audience and is appropriate for all readership levels. Recommended.
— Choice Reviews
[Hogan] argues that globalization, secularization, hypermobility, and the virtualization of social life have destabilized individual and collective identities, and that “roots quests” in the U.S. evince a hunger for authenticity and deep connection with anything. . . Hogan approaches family historians’ increasingly global searches for community, self-knowledge, and a kind of secular immortality with compassion and insight. Readers interested in a scholarly look at memory work, popular understandings of heritage and kinship, or identity formation in consumer society will find much of interest here.
— Publishers Weekly
[Hogan] looks deeply and analytically at several causes and examples of our roots quest. In addition, though the focus is an American context, the author brings in comparative examples from societies around the world, as a reader might expect a sociologist to do . . . a thought-provoking read.
— Association Of Professional Genealogists Qrtly
In a pellucid style that belies the book’s rigorous analytical framework, JackieHogan provides the reader with both the underlying motives for engaging in genealogical research and rich descriptive accounts of how people go about connecting with their ancestral pasts. The result is a rich tapestry of evidence on a phenomenon that has been monetized and translated into entertainment, while nevertheless offering people the prospect of reaching an authentic grounding for their identities. This humane book deserves a broad readership.
— Peter Kivisto, Augustana College and University of Helsinki
Genealogists spend countless hours putting their ancestors under a microscope, but now it's our turn. In Roots Quest, sociologist Jackie Hogan methodically ferrets out our secrets to see what makes us tick. The investigators have now been thoroughly investigated!
— Megan Smolenyak, author of Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing