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‘I Know Who You Are’: Antiblackness in the Speculative Rhetorics of Genetic Genealogy

Kelsie, Amber (2020) ‘I Know Who You Are’: Antiblackness in the Speculative Rhetorics of Genetic Genealogy. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Drawing on the theoretical frameworks provided by afropessimism, Black feminist new materialism, and rhetoric and media studies, this dissertation investigates the racial meaning-making at work in the speculative rhetorics of genetic genealogy. Genetic genealogy imaginaries are invested in a world-making project that mirrors the speculative maneuvers of biotechnology writ large. Blackness is understood as a “communicative medium” for the inscription of the Humanist drama of value in the production of technoscientific imaginaries. Genetic genealogy discourse figured in the popular HBO series Watchmen and AncestryDNA advertisements are examined as rhetorical mediations of nature and life that appropriate and (mis)recognize Blackness. This dissertation argues that genetic genealogy invests and arrests Blackness through motifs of loss and recovery, and through an incorporative logic of neoliberal multiculturalism. Rhetorical operations of structural adjustment found in this study neither simply forefront a color-conscious politic nor a post-racial one. Instead, these operations are indicative of a racialized command that one assent to deracialization in order to enter the drama of Human value.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Kelsie, Amberaek46@pitt.eduaek46
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee MemberChávez,
Committee MemberReid-Brinkley,
Committee MemberBruce,
Committee MemberJohnson,
Committee ChairMalin,
Date: 8 June 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 9 April 2020
Approval Date: 8 June 2020
Submission Date: 1 May 2020
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 172
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Communication: Rhetoric and Communication
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Antiblackness, Black Studies, Afropessimism, Black feminist new materialism, genealogy, genetics, rhetoric, media studies
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2020 16:30
Last Modified: 10 May 2021 16:08


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