Alondra Nelson
Dean of Social Science, Columbia University

Alondra Nelson is Dean of Social Science and Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at Columbia University in New York. She is the author of Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination (2013). Her latest book is The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome (2016).

Written by Alondra Nelson

Ernest Parks, curator of the Seashore Farmers’ Lodge, James Island, Charleston wears his uniform of the 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, one of the first sanctioned African-American regiments in the Union Army. From the Gullah Geechee project depicting the direct descendants of enslaved West Africans on the Sea Islands in South Carolina. Photo by Pete Marovich/Corbis

Demography and migration
Roots and genes

‘Roots’ sparked an African-American quest for identity through family history. Does DNA finally provide firm grounds?

Alondra Nelson