China and Inner Asia
Session Abstract: This panel brings together humanists, social scientists, and scientists to consider the use of DNA evidence by both China scholars and the wider public. Remarkable scientific advances, especially in the recovery of ancient DNA from archeological sites, have inspired China scholars to add DNA findings to their arsenal of evidence. In her paper Brunson draws on ancient DNA of animals to help us understand the early history of domestication of animals in China. Nichols, a specialist in early Chinese thought, proposes that certain genes commonly found in East Asians may have been involved in cultural evolution. But it is not just the past that interests us. Cheng, building on his work on Chinese resistance of accepting the “out of Africa” story of Homo Sapiens, examines the involvement of the governments of both the PRC and Taiwan in supporting DNA research and the political as well as popular interest in the findings and their implications regarding national and ethnic identity. Yang, our discussant, is a geneticist who has worked on some of the most important studies of ancient DNA and will be able to comment on how the paper-writers are using the scientific evidence and help us think about best practices in working across disciplines. Expecting broad interest in our topic, we are committed to preserving time for open discussion.
Paper Presenter: Jade D. Guedes – University of California San Diego
Paper Presenter: Katherine Brunson – Wesleyan University
Paper Presenter: Ryan Nichols – California State University, Fullerton
Paper Presenter: Yinghong Cheng – Delaware State University