Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationCalifornia, Berkeley, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9549
Approve DateOctober 11, 2017
Project TitleMassie, Victoria M., U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Assembling Genetic Ancestry: Race, Return, and the Materiality of Home in Cameroon,' supervised by Dr. Cori Hayden
VICTORIA M. MASSIE, then a graduate student at University of California, Berkeley, California, was awarded a grant in October 2017 to aid research on “Assembling Genetic Ancestry: Race, Return, and the Materiality of Home in Cameroon,” supervised by Dr. Cori Hayden. This dissertation examines how Cameroonians recoup African Americans as kin through genetic reconnection programs as an investment in a future untethered to the histories of slavery, colonialism, and neo-imperial extracted that have shaped and sustain Cameroon’s borders. Drawing on eighteen months of multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork between the United States and Cameroon, this project uses a transcontinental analysis of how diaspora is mobilized to transform postcolonial formations of sovereignty in the era following 50 years of independence. The project theorizes “genetic reconnection” by way of how genetic ancestry enables African Americans and Cameroonians to mutually constitute utopic horizons of possibility in an effort to relate to one another and to the place they each call home. Through reconfigurations of biological citizenship, national heritage, and autochthony, this project demonstrates attempts to reiterate how ancestry is not endowed but is made. By attending to different configurations of labor practices binding African Americans and Cameroonians together through genetics, this project aims to use genetic reconnection as a site to diagnose Cameroon’s emerging place-in-the-world, particularly as new modes of kinship become critical points of intervention to mitigate and subvert forms of racialized predation unfolding in Cameroon today.