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On slaves and genes: “origins” and “processes” in genetic studies of the Brazilian population

In this article I examine how contemporary geneticists investigating the history and configuration of the Brazilian population engage with other academic disciplines. To do so I use as a case study some articles published by geneticists researching the presence of hemoglobin S variants in Brazil, in which there is a clear pretension to contribute to the analysis of issues such as slavery or Brazil’s ethnic identity. By contrasting these studies with contemporary works from history and the social science, the explanatory centrality of “origin” in the genetic studies analyzed is problematized, as is the lack of interaction with the epistemological characteristics of other areas of knowledge.

population genetics; hemoglobin S; history; social sciences; epistemology

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