Identity in the Age of Ancestral DNA

Open your mind to new concepts of personal identity as you look at the scientific and cultural dimensions of DNA ancestry and what it can reveal about us.
Identity in the Age of Ancestral DNA is rated 3.1 out of 5 by 16.
  • y_2021, m_9, d_25, h_20
  • bvseo_bulk, prod_bvrr, vn_bulk_3.0.19
  • cp_1, bvpage1
  • co_hasreviews, tv_0, tr_16
  • loc_en_CA, sid_80100, prod, sort_[SortEntry(order=SUBMISSION_TIME, direction=DESCENDING)]
  • clientName_teachco
  • bvseo_sdk, p_sdk, 3.2.1
  • CLOUD, getAggregateRating, 24.79ms
  • REVIEWS, PRODUCT
Rated 4 out of 5 by from In Depth Exploration of Ancestral Identity Issues I got sucked in because I thought this was going to be a course specifically on ancestral DNA; maybe going over some of the issues regarding the origins of different groups that were raised in books like Bryan Sykes's "The Seven Daughters of Eve". I had read that book and enjoyed it. Admittedly, I would have preferred such a course, and I wasn't really looking for a sociological course at the time, so I understand the sentiments some had about a so-called misleading title (not really misleading but I'm sure I wasn't the only one drawn in by the ancestral DNA part). However, I deeply enjoyed the course. I watched each lecture and there were some that were a little long-winded, but many brought up interesting topics with significant insights. It really made me want to get my DNA tested and explore the subject in more depth. I thought the presenter was engaging and articulate. I would recommend it for those interested in complex topics of identity but not so much for those wanting an exploration of the origins of human groups and their geographic history through the lens of DNA.
Date published: 2021-09-16
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Sociology Not Denetics Little effort to provide a clear, useful definition of "Identity", so it means whatever you want it to mean. Lesson 10 Personalized Medicine is definitely expansionist. There is a strong focus on race. The professor's bio says "communications", whatever that is. Her self-description as "a balloon with her head in the sky" (Lesson 6) doesn't seem far-fetched. She speaks very clearly and confidently with no teleprompter stumbles, but I was often left asking "what's your point?". Visuals are not very important. Sampling appears highly suspect. I am very suspicious of "targeted samples". "Upper middle class" seems to be greatly over-represented when generalising about "racialised American society". I hoped to see a discussion of the significance of numbers like "1%". Some interesting anecdotes, but little technical detail. The target market seems to be people with little more than a grade school education in science, and not much exposure to record-based genealogy (see TGC Course 9394, Introduction to Genealogy). I wondered about many of the people she described, although I estimated the samples were highly selective and non-random. Only recommended as an exercise in "Is this what educated Americans really think?", or is it just sample bias.
Date published: 2021-09-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating and well done! This course about IDENTITY is absolutely fascinating! And I love how detailed, analytic, balanced and fair the information is presented. The impacts created by the social sciences together with the physical sciences are profound. And the questions regarding possibilities as well as challenges are spot-on and intriguing. When speaking of identity, one MUST talk about race and views on race. Dr. Foeman does an excellent job of navigating these rocky waters - helping us understand -in a fair and balanced manner- how many different people react to learning more about their identity through DNA . How people have viewed themselves and dealt with race in the past and present are also discussed by her accurately. And she has a plethora of examples to back it up. (Please keep in mind that I am a politically conservative person and well aware of current issues and challenges. I do not agree with racism from any direction.) I have been involved in researching my own family history as a hobby for years and a few years ago took a couple of DNA tests. Dr. Foeman has helped me to take a closer look in a few different areas. If you are one concerned about the lecture style of this course, well that is what the formerly "Great Courses" was all about. I also prefer a more media interactive style. However, that does not reflect on the lecturer, but rather the style of this site. Besides, Dr. Foeman is very engaging as she presents material as she would in a regular classroom. Again, the style of this website. If you happen to be frustrated, because you spent extra on this course - misinterpreting the title- and thinking it was more about DNA, than what she actually tells us it's about - Identity, then you might try signing up for the "plus" version which gives you access to all of the courses for a small monthly fee. I have been able to browse through and view many different topics without paying for each and every one.
Date published: 2021-09-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I find all the courses supplement my knowledge. I have been looking at my own DNA and that I have passed on to my children and grandchildren. This helped me understand the pitfalls as well as the interesting information about how this changes my view of me.
Date published: 2021-09-04
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Great disappointment I had expected a course on DNA to be about the science and scientific exploration. I have read Bryan Sykes' books and have attended seminars on DNA and in every case the discussions have been on the science of DNA. In her first lesson your instructor provides a preview of her take on the direction of her presentation and I found it to be racially motivated. DNA is not a racial theory and it was very disheartening to have it represented as such. If 'Great Courses" is now moving in the direction of providing a lecturer's political bias I would wish to have my name removed from your mailing list. Racism has no business in science.
Date published: 2021-09-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great coverage I bought this because I was doing research on a blog article I'm writing. It contains great information on various individuals' responses to an ancestry search showing upset and satisfaction. What I enjoyed most was the coverage of DNA and "designer babies" and how, in the future, ancestry kits can track ancestors' complete genomes for inheritable diseases.
Date published: 2021-09-01
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Unwatchable A good subject but ruined by the presenter's obsession with race, social justice, CRT, ad nauseam.
Date published: 2021-08-27
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Presents one vehement negative viewpoint This class presents one vehement negative viewpoint, and there is no way for viewers to present the missing information. Each class is a vehement argument against DNA testing. One key deficiency is a complete lack of understanding of what goes into identity as well as the importance of inherited temperament in peoples' sense of identity. Even worse, the "class" ignores the amount of pure historical information one can get about one's family from DNA testing that is often not handed down, which is behind a family's entire culture and modes of behavior, behavior the person doing the DNA testing learned from their family. For instance, I had no idea that many of my father's ancestors were Swiss Mennonites from a small group of villages in southern Germany. My father vaguely knew a grandmother was Quaker but had no idea what that meant in terms of temperament. My parents had no idea many of their family were SCOTCH IRISH, of all the things to not know about oneself, though strong Scotch Irish behavior patterns I never to that point recognized or understood came down. To this day I get along better with people of Scotch Irish background than anyone else, even when we don't have the same skin color, and even if our political views are opposite. I'll ALWAYS be glad I did DNA research.
Date published: 2021-08-27
  • y_2021, m_9, d_25, h_20
  • bvseo_bulk, prod_bvrr, vn_bulk_3.0.19
  • cp_1, bvpage1
  • co_hasreviews, tv_0, tr_16
  • loc_en_CA, sid_80100, prod, sort_[SortEntry(order=SUBMISSION_TIME, direction=DESCENDING)]
  • clientName_teachco
  • bvseo_sdk, p_sdk, 3.2.1
  • CLOUD, getReviews, 4.75ms
  • REVIEWS, PRODUCT

Overview

Who do you think you are? In the 12 fascinating lessons of Identity in the Age of Ancestral DNA, Anita Foeman, PhD, Professor of Communication and Media, and founder and primary investigator of the DNA Discussion Project at West Chester University, takes us behind the scenes to examine what really happens when individuals receive their personal DNA ancestry results. By learning about their individual and family reactions, we learn more about our own identity narratives as well.

About

Anita Foeman
Anita Foeman

There’s nothing more intriguing than unlocking the mysteries of our history, heritage, and lineage and learning who we are and what we’re made of.

INSTITUTION

West Chester University

Anita Foeman is a Professor of Communication and Media at West Chester University. She received her PhD in Communication Studies from Temple University.

Anita’s scholarly work explores diversity in different facets of society, and she has 30 years of experience in diversity and leadership consulting for educational, government, and private agencies. Her research examines identity based on new ancestry DNA data, with findings and advice gathered in a book cowritten with Bessie Lee Lawton titled Who Am I? Identity in the Age of Consumer DNA Testing. She has also been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Here & Now on NPR, BBC Newshour, National Geographic magazine, National Geographic Explorer, and NOVA

https://www.wcupa.edu/DNADiscussion/

By This Professor

Identity in the Age of Ancestral DNA
853
Identity in the Age of Ancestral DNA

Trailer

Your Ancestry, Your Identity

01: Your Ancestry, Your Identity

Do your genes determine (or even define) your essential nature and identity? Or do you build your own identity, ignoring or actively working against your genetic makeup? Explore the essentialist and constructed philosophies and discover how you might incorporate aspects of both into your own view of personal identity.

31 min
What Genetic Testing Brings to Ancestry

02: What Genetic Testing Brings to Ancestry

Labs that provide DNA ancestry information use hundreds of thousands of ancestry-information markers (AIMs)—the mutations in our DNA that help trace the paths of our ancestors. Learn about the AIMs that relate to major identifiable lineages, as well as what can be gleaned from mitochondrial DNA and Y-DNA.

29 min
Sensitive Approaches to Ancestry Results

03: Sensitive Approaches to Ancestry Results

There are many social issues affecting an individual’s emotional response to receiving DNA ancestry results—old attitudes about race and interracial relationships, adoption, children born out of wedlock, and more. Explore how the reciprocal engagement method can help families face unexpected ancestry results and get some tips to consider before ordering your own test.

28 min
When Family Narrative Meets Genetic Testing

04: When Family Narrative Meets Genetic Testing

People want a family narrative that is cohesive, useful, identity-supporting, and will give them the best chance for social survival. DNA just “wants” to move itself forward and is completely neutral on issues of race, subterfuge, or social connection. Explore how to create a strategic family narrative to incorporate the scientific facts of your DNA ancestry results.

30 min
Privacy versus Connection in DNA Testing

05: Privacy versus Connection in DNA Testing

From the now-famous case of Henrietta Lacks to that of the Hagahai people of Papua New Guinea, scientists and government agencies have a history of bad actions with respect to biological samples. With millions of DNA samples now in existence, learn about the laws and programs now in place to protect privacy. Is it enough?

30 min
The DNA Discussion Project Research

06: The DNA Discussion Project Research

Learn about the DNA Discussion Project, its goals, and current results regarding the ways in which DNA ancestry tests are changing identity. Do unanticipated test results cause individuals to change their formal census designation? Do people share their DNA ancestry results with family and friends? And what are the broader social implications of those decisions?

29 min
How Genograms Reveal Your Ancestry

07: How Genograms Reveal Your Ancestry

A genogram is a graphic tool used to explore family history and relationships over a two- to three-generation period. Discover the powerful information that can be conveyed through a genogram—particularly the quality of relationships between family members—as opposed to the traditional family tree diagram.

26 min
Gaining Insight through Your Genetics

08: Gaining Insight through Your Genetics

Although thousands of babies are born each year with the assistance of various reproductive technologies, the science seems to be ahead of our ability to fully comprehend the consequences. Explore this issue by meeting Maria, who learned as a teenager that she was born with the help of intrauterine insemination. How does that knowledge affect an adolescent’s identity?

29 min
Designer Babies and DNA Ancestry

09: Designer Babies and DNA Ancestry

CRISPR, a relatively new gene-editing technology, has tremendous potential to cure genetic diseases. However, the power to alter a human genome could also be used to create “designer babies.” Explore the significant issues that need to be discussed broadly in the culture to avoid unintended consequences, including a replay of historical US laws promoting eugenics.

29 min
Personalized Medicine and Your Genome

10: Personalized Medicine and Your Genome

Medicine based on an individual’s genome hopes to solve numerous disease issues before long. But given that personal identity is much more than any genome, could the “personal” be left out of “personalized” medicine? Explore the issues of epigenetics that must be considered so that larger social determinants of health are not ignored in favor of genetics alone.

30 min
Levels of Your Identity

11: Levels of Your Identity

What happens when your DNA ancestry says one thing, but you feel something else entirely? Can a white man find his true home in the Black community? Can a Japanese woman find an American identity that finally “fits”? Discover the complexity of identity levels by exploring the notorious case of Rachel Dolezal, the white woman who became a self-proclaimed Black activist.

31 min
Making Art with DNA Ancestry

12: Making Art with DNA Ancestry

Explore the relationship between DNA ancestry and identity via the artwork of photographer Brooklyn McTavish. Beginning with an individual’s DNA ancestry readout, the artist explores the individual’s responses, emotions, and remaining questions. He then creates images with layers of meaning that are often difficult to convey with the explicit statements of language.

27 min