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  • The Genetic Imagination: Imaging Populations and the Construction of Nationhood

    Aaro Tupasela

    Chapter from the book: Hoegaerts, J et al. 2022. Finnishness, Whiteness and Coloniality.


    This chapter explores the ways in which genetics, particularly population genetics, generate representations of difference and similarity. Using examples drawn from both scientific literature, as well as popularizing texts, I show how visual representations of difference and similarity have come to provide compelling forms of evidence for constructing nationhood, as well as national identity. Using the case of Finnish genetics, as well as the study of rare diseases in Finland, I will describe how genetics and historical understandings of nationhood have come to complement other forms of national identity, such as culture. If the national romantic period in Finland from the late 19th to the early 20th centuries drew its legitimacy from literature and the arts, then the role of genetics in the construction of nationhood can be understood through the lens of what I have termed genetic romanticism. Much like the national romantic period, I consider genetic romanticism as a set of practices and processes through which national identity becomes defined and stabilized.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Tupasela, A. 2022. The Genetic Imagination: Imaging Populations and the Construction of Nationhood. In: Hoegaerts, J et al (eds.), Finnishness, Whiteness and Coloniality. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.33134/HUP-17-2

    This chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial 4.0 license. Copyright is retained by the author(s)

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    Additional Information

    Published on Aug. 22, 2022


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