Everyone comes from somewhere. From the doctor’s office to the passport office, from whom we’ve descended affects the biological, legal, and cultural identities of just about everybody in the world today. How did ancestry come to play such a critical role in defining status? Drawing on insights from anthropology, genetics, and history, this lecture will meditate on the human preoccupation with lineage from ancient times to the DNA tests of today.
Maya Jasanoff is the XD and Nancy Yang Professor of Arts and Sciences and Coolidge Professor of History at Harvard University. She is the author of the prize-winning books Edge of Empire and Liberty’s Exiles, and most recently The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World, winner of the 2018 Cundill Prize in History. She is currently working on a wide-ranging book about the role of ancestry in human history. A 2013 Guggenheim Fellow, Jasanoff was awarded the 2017 Windham-Campbell Prize in Literature for her non-fiction writing. Jasanoff is a frequent contributor to publications including The New Yorker and the Guardian, and is chair of judges for the 2021 Booker Prize.
The annual Creighton Lecture honours the legacy of Donald Creighton, Professor of Canadian History from 1928-1971.