Victoria Massie

Assembling Genetic Ancestry: Race, Return, and the Materiality of Home in Cameroon

My work examines conditions of genetic diasporic belonging in Cameroon through genetic ancestry testing. For nearly a decade, as genetic ancestry testing has gained increasingly popularity, particularly for African American roots seekers, African countries of origin like Cameroon are having to contend with the arrival of a diaspora created on the grounds of a 21st century biotechnology that risks reinscribing ideas of biological racial identities. My work reframes the materiality of genetic ancestry by examining how Cameroon’s historical and sociopolitical context, as well as gender disparities amongst returnees, dictate the terms of biological return and belonging, beyond the technology itself, to better assess the ties between genetics and race today.

Bio: Victoria M. Massie is a Ph.D. Candidate in Sociocultural Anthropology with a designated emphasis in Science & Technology Studies. Her work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Wenner Gren Foundation, the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Award, and UC Berkeley Center for African Studies. She is also a writer. For more information: victoriammassie.com.