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Genetic Genealogy

Deadline: August 01 2017

Updated: August 11 2017

Special issue of the online journal Genealogy

Deadline for expressions of interest: 1 August 2017
Deadline for submission of papers: 1 October 2017

It is now nearly two decades since genetic tests for information about ‘deep ancestry’ or to aid in genealogical research first came on the market in the United Kingdom and the United States. The numbers and locations of companies offering these tests has multiplied hugely since and the possibility of knowing something about ancestry through a genetic test has become embedded within public culture through media coverage of personal and collective stories of tests and results.

This special issue of Genealogy ‘Genetic Genealogy’ invites contributors to critically explore what is known as direct-to-consumer ancestry testing, genetic genealogy, or recreational genetics. Building on recent work on the nature and implications of these tests, the aim of this special issue is to extend critical engagements with the claims and limits of the tests themselves; document and analysis the emergence and development of this sector; and to address its impact and effects from the perspective of those who have undertaken these tests. Some potential areas of focus may include the following:

• the history and geography of the development of this sector; the relationship between commercial ventures and scientific research units and the role of key individuals and collaborations; its political economies and degree of regulation
• further analysis of the scientific basis of the tests and what they can and cannot say about ancestry and origins
• the ways in which genetic genealogy companies deal with categories of difference such as race, ethnicity, national identity
• the figuring of gender in relation to ideas of lineage and ancestry
• the experience of genetic genealogy for individuals, families and groups in terms of senses of identity, relatedness and belonging
• and the interpersonal and familial ethics and effects of instigating and producing this form of genealogical knowledge
• the incorporation of, or resistance to, genetic genealogy in collective histories and identities
• the relationship between conventional and genetic sources of historical knowledge in family history and issues of expertise and authority
• the degree to which genetic ancestry testing features in museums, public historical narratives and historical scholarship
• the nature, use and implications of genetic genealogy in different geographical contexts especially beyond the UK and US.
• the relationship between genetic genealogy and wider uses genomic determinations of ancestry and origin in other domains including forensic genomics and biometric immigration controls.

The deadline for papers of 5-8k words is 1 October 2017 but those interested in contributing are invited to contact the Catherine Nash ( who is the guest editor for the special issue by 1 August 2017.