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Imagining Origins Through Ancient Human DNA

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Abstract

The chapter explores how studies comparing modern DNA to DNA retrieved from ancient human remains engender a molecularized temporal trajectory that connects the bodies of modern humans to a fantasized point of origins in the prehistoric past. The chapter focuses on the cultural debates surrounding the DNA of two 9000-year-old human remains, the so-called Kennewick Man discovered in Washington State in the United States and Cheddar Man discovered in Somerset in the United Kingdom. Through the two debates, the chapter identifies crucial differences between American and British negotiations over evolutionary origins. At the same time, the chapter shows how both debates mobilized and enacted multiple forms of ethnic, national, regional, and personal belonging.

Keywords

Cheddar Kennewick Prehistoric Human Remains Native American Graves Protection And Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) TallBear 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Helsinki Collegium for Advanced StudiesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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