, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 617–620 | Cite as

Archives of identity

Nadia Abu El-Haj: The genealogical science: The search for Jewish origins and the politics of epistemology. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2012, 328pp, $35.00 HB
  • Lydia Pyne
Book Review

Questions of nature and culture, identity and biology, and certainly the nature of establishing ‘fact’ cut through multiple disciplines in ways that few other themes could. The duality of science and society could not be more clearly articulated than in The Genealogical Science: The Search for Jewish Origins and the Politics of Epistemology. Indeed, Nadia Abu El-Haj brilliantly describes the intellectual interplay between anthropology, epistemology, popular memes of society and political order, political commitments, ideologies, and how these factors influence cultural imaginations specifically through genetic anthropology. Situating her work at the intersection of history of science, philosophy of science, sociology, and anthropology, Abu El-Haj offers specific, precise, and well-grounded arguments about how the meanings of biological difference have changed over time—and, specifically, about the explanatory role that history and the historical sciences can offer to these...


  1. El-Haj, Nadia Abu. 2002. Facts on the ground: Archaeological practice and territorial self-fashioning in Israeli society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Olson, Steve. 2003. Mapping human history: Genes, race, and our common origins. Boston, MA: Mariner Books.Google Scholar
  3. Wells, Spencer. 2004. The journey of man: A genetic Odyssey. New York: Random House.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pennoni Honors CollegeDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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