Can DNA Help Us Grapple with the Past?

We know DNA is a master key that unlocks medical and forensic secrets, but genetic testing is also impacting urgent social issues around race in America. DNA-based techniques are being used in a variety of ways, including to grapple with the unfinished business of slavery: to foster reconciliation, to establish ties with African ancestral homelands, to rethink and sometimes alter citizenship, and to make legal claims for slavery reparations specifically based on ancestry. Alondra Nelson joins the Aspen Institute’s Michele Norris for a conversation about DNA as a portal to the past, revealing social traumas and historical injustices that resonate today and into the future.

Festival: 2017

Watch and Listen: U.S.A.

Every new president finds it challenging to adjust to the role of commander in chief. President Trump, the... See more
Activist Dolores Huerta, recipient of the 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist... See more
America has always meant business. We’re a nation of self-starters, strivers, and entrepreneurs — with the courage to... See more
In the innovation process, ideation is the creation of a great idea. But that’s not enough. Scaling is required to... See more
How can we prepare needed talent to fuel economic growth and social mobility? With the workplace rapidly changing with... See more
We are on the cusp of a sweeping revolution — one that will change every facet of our lives. The changes ahead will... See more

Pages