Genome Sampling and the Biopolitics of Race
Catherine Bliss
Emily Beitiks

This chapter applies Foucault’s concept of biopolitics to scientific knowledge about race via a genealogy of global genome project sampling strategies. Using internal records, publications and news coverage of four major projects, Bliss shows how global genomics has moved from population-blind sampling to race/ethnicity-conscious and, finally, continent-based sampling. She argues that this tactical change was motivated by pressures from the U.S. federal government to incorporate specific sociopolitical racial redress policies. Here, the state produces a framework for accessing bodies that generates a specific definition and administration of life. Due to funding structures, this American framework has become the leading global paradigm. Understanding the brief but rich history of global genomic sampling policies can tell us much about how states and scientific fields are constructing the body, the human, and the nation.