Genetic Crossroads
The Middle East and the Science of Human Heredity
Elise K. Burton




IN AUTUMN 2015, DARIUSH DANESHVAR FARHUD, A TEHRAN UNIVERSITY professor and self-proclaimed “father of Iranian genetics,” sat down for an interview with Iran’s Channel 3 talk show Imz̤ā. In his old age, Farhud has an unassuming figure that belies his long career holding leadership positions in the Iranian biomedical community. His status further stems, in part, from the prestige of many connections abroad: he has collaborated extensively with geneticists from across Europe and North America, published regularly in international scientific journals, and served on World Health Organization committees for bioethics and medical genetics. On the walls of his private genetic counseling clinic near busy Valiasr Square (and on his clinic’s website), he proudly displays his foreign diplomas and awards.

Over the course of an hour, Imz̤ā host Ehsan Karami asked Farhud about his family background, school years in Tehran, university education in West Germany, and subsequent career as a prominent medical and anthropological geneticist since returning to Iran in 1972. The interview, which aired on December 4, features several exchanges that might seem jarring to non-Iranian viewers. For example, Farhud explained that he had refused to leave Iran during and after the 1979 revolution because of his deeply felt nationalism (īrān-dūstī) and patriotism (mīhan-parastī), proclaiming, “I was born here, and I’ll die here.” Farhud suggested that his sentiments were “genetically” inherited, since his parents “were the same way.” Karami asked dubiously, “Do you mean that all patriotic people in the world have patriotic offspring?” Farhud clarified with other traits that he considered to result from both genetic and (familial) environmental contributions, such as talents in calligraphy and music. Later, Karami asked Farhud’s opinion on the concept of “gene drain” (farār-i zhinhā), an extrapolation of “brain drain.” Farhud claimed, “I never want to talk about politics,” but he explained that when young people migrate, “they take their genes with them,” causing not only a brain drain in developing regions but also the loss of those young people’s potential children. Through this process, “some countries of the world” profit not only from the natural resources of developing countries but also from their “human resources.”

A conversation about Farhud’s research similarly turned toward questions of nationality and Iran’s place in the world. Farhud credited himself with initiating population genetics in Iran, namely comparative studies of the blood groups, serum proteins, hemoglobins, and physical traits of the country’s many ethnic groups to understand their differences from one another. For example, he explained, there are differences between Turkic speakers (turk) and Baloch tribes. By determining the genetic structure of different Iranian ethnicities (sākhtār-i zhinitīk-i qawmiyyāt-i īrān), his work had enabled studies on ethnic differences in disease frequencies. Finally, to conclude the episode, Karami asked how Iranian genes were different from others. For example, were Iranians smarter than Koreans, Japanese, and Americans? Farhud affirrmed that “genetically,” Iranians were more intelligent than many other peoples (mardum), but not “the smartest in the world,” and that they suffered from a customary lack of perseverance and work ethic. Farhud ended his interview with an entreaty to Iranian youth to cultivate a stronger sense of patriotism and honor their identity (huviyyat), citing the alleged saying of the Prophet Muhammad that “love of homeland is part of faith” (ḥubb al-waṭan min al-īmān).

Farhud’s self-narrative throws into sharp relief many questions about the social implications of genetic research in Iran. What is the relationship between his identities as a professional geneticist and an ardent nationalist? Why does he slip so easily between speaking about the genetic differences between Iranian ethnicities and declaring intelligence to be an essential trait of all Iranians? His gestures toward the biological determinism of intelligence and other behavioral traits are hardly unique among prominent geneticists, including those in the West.1 But his speculations about unitary Iranian national traits seemingly contradict the premise of his anthropological research, which highlights the country’s ethnic and genetic diversity. Addressing these questions requires an assessment of Farhud’s professional life, in which he acts simultaneously as a representative of transnational research in population genetics to his fellow Iranian citizens, and also as a representative of his country within a global scientific infrastructure that has often neglected the contributions of Middle Eastern workers.

The discussion about gene drain invokes scientific and social discourses that ascribe value to genes rather than to individual people. Although Farhud and Karami lament “gene migration” as the depletion of a national resource, in prior decades geneticists from around the world flocked to Iran and the rest of the Middle East specifically to study genetic evidence of past human migrations. The belief that the region had been a historical crossroads of genes effectively transformed the Middle East into a global crossroads of scientists. Yet the practices through which this genetic evidence was collected and interpreted have often been contentious. Given Iran’s close association with the concept of brain drain since the 1960s, Farhud’s comments about gene drain reflect ongoing geopolitical anxieties about the exploitation of developing regions by “other countries”—that is, the West or the Global North. Meanwhile, his exhortations to other Iranians to cultivate an allegedly innate patriotism highlight the relationship between scientific nationalism and the transformation of human genetic data into socially meaningful identities.2 To parse out where Farhud’s views fit into globally standardized practices of biomedical research and where they expose specific contingencies of pursuing such research in Iran or the broader Middle East, I begin with a brief overview of the entanglements between genetics and social knowledge.


Today, many explanations of genetic research turn immediately to the molecular level, describing how scientists detect the sequence of chemical units in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the hereditary material found in all living things. Both professional geneticists and the lay public have largely succumbed to the “DNA mystique,” casting DNA sequences as the essence of unique individual identities as well as the “immortal text” containing the history of all life on Earth.3 However, the history of “genetics” (a term first proposed in 1905) far precedes both the discovery of the DNA molecule and the invention of technology to sequence it. For much of the twentieth century, scientists studied “genes” as units of heredity without direct reference to DNA.4 Accordingly, the majority of the research I analyze in this book, which begins with the First World War, predates the widespread adoption of efficient DNA sequencing techniques. Rather than examining variations in the molecule itself, geneticists working on humans observed the physiological manifestations of such variations: the size and shape of body parts, the presence of different proteins in the blood, and the inheritance patterns of certain diseases.

At present, genetic research on human subjects occurs within a number of specialized subfields, and my principal concerns with racial classification and ethnic ancestry are now commonly associated with that subfield known variously as anthropological genetics, molecular anthropology, genetic anthropology, or genetic history. However, during most of the period covered by this book, even the broader category of genetics was not a well-defined field of inquiry, and many of its practitioners identified as medical professionals. Indeed, many of the individuals I write about worked for hospitals or blood banks and received their research funding from national and international health-care agencies. Accordingly, I approach the history of human genetics not as a unified discipline with a clear trajectory but rather as a conglomeration of knowledge about human history and prehistory predicated upon tracing the relationships of individuals to groups and of groups to each other. I use “geneticists” as a shorthand for the scientists and physicians trained in physical anthropology, evolutionary biology, biochemistry, and medical pathology (especially hematology and serology, the study of blood and serum, respectively) who studied inherited traits to answer questions about human history.

These geneticists, in turn, did not apply consistent labels to the field they were building. In 1965, the prominent British hematologist Arthur Ernest Mourant, the director of the Blood Group Reference Laboratory in London, who worked with many Middle Eastern geneticists, mused at length over the name of his proposed new research unit: the Serological Population Genetics Laboratory. “As regards the first part of the name, designating the subject of research, it would appear that the [Medical Research] Council have raised no objections. I take it that the word ‘Serological’ sufficiently distinguishes it from the Population Genetics Research Unit. [ . . . ] One other possibility would be ‘Serological Anthropology.’5 The lack of nominal conventions for this enterprise, suspended between medicine and anthropology, conceals certain remarkable consistencies that unite fin de siècle skull measurements, Cold War surveys of blood-group frequencies, and the oft-maligned Human Genome Diversity Project of the 1990s. These methodologies all demanded a specific kind of human group—a study population—in order to yield useful, generalizable scientific knowledge. Because this knowledge is often articulated in the form of statistical averages, geneticists must establish consistent criteria regarding the boundaries of their study population. In order to ensure that their data collection accurately reflects the range of hereditary traits in the group, geneticists must constantly decide which individuals “belong” to the population and which should be excluded.

This adjudication of population boundaries is rarely straightforward. It involves many social and cultural assumptions about kinship, marriage, and reproduction. For example, scholars have long assumed that certain kinds of human groups are more likely to be endogamous—that is, to marry only among themselves, and therefore retain a high fidelity to their ancestral cultural and biological traits. These include communities isolated by geography, surrounded by ocean, desert, and high mountains, or those isolated by sociocultural factors like religion and language. Geneticists tend to regard such endogamous communities as living representatives of the past, and therefore particularly valuable for studies of human evolution. For over a century, geneticists have justified the urgency of their research on remote tribal communities using narratives of the “vanishing indigene,” whose biology must be preserved through “salvage genetics.”6 These narratives argued that the unique genetic composition of such communities must be documented before it inevitably disappeared due to state-imposed projects of “modernization” that aimed to disrupt traditional group identities and ways of life. This disruption was expected to cause, in scientific terms, “admixture”—the intermarriage of previously isolated social groups with other populations, and therefore the loss of their characteristic set of genetic traits.

Admixture has negative connotations for ethnic and nationalist ideologies that conceptualize their authenticity in terms of a purity of ancestry. National histories seek to project the existence of a qualitatively distinct population (“the nation”) back in time to a fixed temporal and geographical origin point, and valorize the living people who have faithfully adhered to the marriage preferences of their ancestors. At the same time, the limitations of scientific methodology meant that geneticists, too, framed admixture as problematic. The medical and evolutionary information sought by geneticists—e.g., the inheritance patterns of known disorders, the relative significance of natural selection and genetic drift, and the biological relationships between living and ancient human populations—were all simply more difficult to study in admixed populations, at least until the advent of efficient computer-based data analysis beginning in the 1970s. As philosophers Lisa Gannett and James Griesemer have explained, the problems were especially acute for the reconstruction of ancient human migrations:

We cannot speak of group origins or unique common ancestors without well-delineated “primordial” groups locatable in space and time. We cannot speak of dates and routes of group migrations without assuming the constancy and integrity of these groups over space and time. We cannot speak of genealogical relationships other than between “qualitatively distinct” groups for which there are sorting criteria for inclusion and exclusion. We cannot speak of the admixture of groups without some modified sense of “purity” in terms of the relative homogeneity and heterogeneity of “qualitatively distinct” “gene pools” with characteristic compositions. The bounding of genes—and the people who possess and pass on these genes—across space and time is a necessary a priori assumption for all such narratives or explanations.7

In practice, this meant that geneticists “required a clearly demarcable, empirically manageable endogamous population,” i.e., groups that could be reliably identified as “reproductively isolated” and therefore “evolutionarily coherent.” An effect of this requirement was that “non-biological knowledge entered the research design,” as “linguists, ethnographers, historians, sociologists and others, as well as myths and claims of collective identity” provided geneticists with the necessary evidence to identify ideal communities for genetic research.8 The biological data collected from such research, in turn, cannot be interpreted without reference to non-biological knowledge and is therefore not a truly independent source of information about human history.

The production of ethnic categories through this process of epistemological layering and cycling through social and intellectual networks is therefore a fundamental component of all genetic research concerning human subjects. This process resembles a feedback loop, in which “folk concepts” of race and ethnicity feed into the assumptions and interpretations of scientific research, whose practitioners in turn feed their work back into the original popular discourse.9 Through this process, genetic researchers in the Middle East effectively transformed religious, linguistic, and other social identities into ethnicities: they contrasted allegedly endogamous communities like Zoroastrians, Armenians, Jews, and Bedouin tribes with heavily admixed populations of Persians, Turks, and Arabs. Interactions between geneticists and their research subjects reified and reinforced communal identities through a hyperbolized sense of a group’s historical isolation from others, via socially or geographically enforced endogamy. Emphasizing this isolation became configured as positive and desirable for researchers and community members alike, since strict practices of endogamy were believed to preserve a community’s authenticity through an unbroken and undiluted genetic relationship to its ancestors. Minority groups were not passive in this process, and some pioneering ethnographic studies show how communities like Samaritans and Alawites have responded to their genetic objectification.10

Meanwhile, geneticists also use national labels to identify populations (e.g., “Iranian” or “Turkish”), despite the fact that such labels do not constitute biologically meaningful categories. Here, the production of ethnicity collides with the logistical pragmatism of “methodological nationalism”—that is, an unquestioned acceptance of the nation-state as a natural unit of analysis.11 Whether used with a conscious ideological aim to identify the biological unity of a “nation” or simply to solve a practical need to identify research subjects with an ostensibly neutral geographic label, geneticists compare these admixed or agglomerated national populations to test hypotheses about national origins and trace historical migrations through the course of human evolution. Advances in technology and methodology promise to reach further and further back in time with greater resolution. However, our concepts and terminology for geography and human groups are inevitably rooted in the present and are therefore burdened by larger uncertainties about how living populations are related to historic and prehistoric human groups. The same questions about national ancestry, with the same underlying assumptions, are thus tested again and again with newer and newer methods, but the results can never disprove the political logic of the contemporary moment. Attempts to reconstruct national histories through genetic data “can never live up to their positivist commitments” because “biological evidence is incapable of undermining the original hypothesis” produced by other sources of knowledge.12

I must clarify here that these methodological problems do not mean that the study of human genetics is somehow pseudoscientific or that it can tell us nothing useful about human evolution or historical population movements. Indeed, the very robustness of modern genetic technology makes possible the emergent sociopolitical phenomenon scholars have called “bionationalism,” “genetic nationalism,” or “genomic nationalism.” This phenomenon represents a shift in how individuals imagine themselves as part of a national or ethnic group—as part of a community so large they will never personally meet most of its members. Whereas Benedict Anderson conceptualized the nation as an imagined community produced by language and print capitalism, new scholarship argues that genetic science has refocused national imaginations toward biological kinship.13 In other words, public awareness of genetic research is “reworking ethnic identities as imagined genetic communities, that is, communities in which the language, concepts and techniques of modern genetic medicine play their part in shaping identity.”14 For example, in South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan, imagining genetic communities has amounted to the conflation of nation-state identity with essentialized majoritarian ethnic categories.15 But this phenomenon is not inevitable, because genetic research can be easily appropriated for “very different political, biological, activist, national, and transnational ends.”16 Even without relying on non-biological knowledge, genetic data is inherently relational: it becomes meaningful only through comparison between individuals, populations, or species. Furthermore, the biological genealogies linking together any one set of individuals or groups can vary widely depending on sample sizes, the number and types of genetic markers analyzed, and the statistical formulas and outgroups used to assess genetic similarities.

To account for these everyday methodological issues faced by professional geneticists, I propose a notion of genetic nationalism that incorporates Prasenjit Duara’s insights on the fundamentally relational nature of national identity. Duara argues that the nation exists as “a provisional relationship, a historical configuration in which the national ‘self’ is defined in relation to the Other. Depending on the nature and scale of the oppositional term, the national self contains various smaller ‘others’—historical others that have effected an often uneasy reconciliation among themselves and potential others that are beginning to form their differences.”17 The “imagined endogamous communities” of socially isolated minority groups—imagined together by geneticists and research subjects—have similarly provisional relationships to admixed, majoritarian national populations, depending on the scale of genetic comparisons being made: local, transnational, continental. By emphasizing genetic nationalism as not only essentialist but also relational, my analysis delves beyond political discourses of biological identity to focus on the material and interpretive practices of professional scientific communities in the Middle Eastern context. Through these practices, local processes of ethnic category-making are profoundly interlinked with the methodological nationalism used by international projects to compare human genetic traits.


Every aspect of human genetic research has been, and continues to be, affected and shaped by contemporary geopolitics. Scientists face various legal and logistical restrictions in their collection of biological material (e.g., blood, saliva, and other tissue samples) and anthropometric measurements, requiring national, local, and individual permissions for their research. The site conditions under which this raw material is collected vary widely, ranging from hospital-based blood banks to remote locations far from any laboratory or clinic. In the latter scenario, biological samples must be preserved and transported to the nearest accessible testing facility, often at great financial cost to the investigators. Once they have analyzed their data, additional language and financial barriers affect researchers’ ability to publish and disseminate their work. Bookending each individual scientific career are innumerable constraints on opportunities for higher education and collaboration with international colleagues, as determined by the local scale of class and social privilege and the global scale of visa regimes and (post)-colonial patronage networks. The circulation of scientific actors, equipment, specimens, and ideas are regulated and hindered by political entities asserting authority and contending for sovereignty.18

In the contemporary Middle East, this geopolitical context is predominantly shaped by the historical interactions between the region’s empires and European powers from the eighteenth century onward. This colonial legacy in the Middle East is the root of a perceived “lag” or “lack” of scientific productivity in the region. Since the nineteenth century, much of the literature on the history of science produced by Western and Middle Eastern scholars alike has perpetuated the notion that the Arabic-speaking world made no significant scientific achievements after the Abbasid Empire’s so-called golden age (circa 786 to 1258 C.E.). This apparent lack of productivity has often been attributed to cultural factors such as anti-intellectual strains of Islamic theology or the Mongol conquests of the thirteenth century. Only in recent years have historians begun to systematically dismantle this thesis of scientific decline, demonstrating continuous scientific activity under early modern Muslim empires and showing how political and economic conditions rather than cultural or religious constraints marginalized Middle Eastern scientific actors in favor of European ones.19 While India and Algeria faced military invasion and direct colonial administration under Britain and France, the core regions of the Ottoman Empire and Qajar Iran retained political sovereignty. However, the latter became “semi-colonial” polities under the pressure of European economic imperialism and Russian military aggression during the nineteenth century. These factors, more than activity by anti-modern reactionaries, hindered the development of industrial, educational, and scientific institutions in the Middle East.

Historian Cyrus Schayegh argues that this semi-colonial position rendered Iran even more peripheral to global scientific networks than directly colonized regions, where administrative and economic necessity drove intensive data accumulation and methodological innovation. Although late Qajar and early Pahlavi Iran did not experience the “comprehensive scientific colonialism” of India, modern science in Iran emerged through colonial patterns of knowledge transfer. These patterns promoted applied science and medicine over basic research, privileged Western educators and scientists over local ones, and provided a foundational discourse for professional class formation.20 The legacy of this semi-colonial experience continues to shape Iranian science today. Even after the Islamic Republic strove to shake off Iran’s dependence on Western scientists and technicians, its integration into the global scientific community was hindered by economic problems and sanctions that limited the financial and logistical support for basic research and accelerated the country’s brain drain, as well as by difficulties in publishing and disseminating scientific knowledge abroad due to language and visa barriers.21 Sociologists studying the formation of the Iranian scientific community have observed a sort of “inferiority complex” among Iranian scientists who believe they will never be able to keep pace with Western scientific achievement due to their fewer material and professional resources.22 Through these twentieth-century political shifts, Iran—and, I contend, the rest of the semi-colonial and postcolonial Middle East—regarded its subordination to Western powers increasingly in terms of “the neocolonial intellectual hegemony of science and technical reason” instead of “formal political and economic imperialism.”23

Scientific developments in the different Middle Eastern states that formed after the dissolution of the Ottoman and Qajar empires did not all occur at the same time or under the same conditions, and this book makes no pretense of comprehensively covering the entire region commonly designated “the Middle East.” Certain localities and professional networks take center stage in my narrative, necessarily at the expense of others. Turkey, Iran, and the Levant are best represented, while the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, and Iraq play secondary, but no less significant, roles. North Africa west of Egypt—despite being an important nexus for Middle Eastern medical training, genetic research, and revolutionary ideas about Arab identity—has regretfully been omitted. I hope that other scholars will take this work as a launchpad to further investigate genetic science across the region and rectify these gaps. In particular, more localized studies could potentially offer a better sense of the popular understanding and reception of genetic research, which is largely neglected by my methodological focus on academic scientists, state-certified physicians, and ruling elites.

Nevertheless, this book identifies broad patterns and trends of state formation, scientific development, and racial and ethnic identity representative of the region as a whole. One of the goals of the book is to demonstrate that science in Israel fits into these broader Middle Eastern patterns. In contrast to the rest of the region, the history of genetic research on Jews in Israel has been relatively well studied. Historians and anthropologists have critically examined how the structuring assumptions of Jewish race science in early-twentieth-century Europe and North America, and their relationship to Zionist nationalism, reverberate within the genetic studies of Jewish populations by Israeli scientists from the 1950s to the present. Because most Jewish race scientists lived and worked in “the West,” they have been readily incorporated and theorized into the generally Eurocentric literature on the history of science.24 Existing scholarship on Israeli genetics emphasizes its settler-colonial nature by identifying its scientists as Western transplants who focused on the unique research opportunities presented by its Jewish populations.25 Indeed, Israeli geneticists have often been engaged in “self-study” through their research on Jewish populations. But they held simultaneous interests in other “Middle Eastern” populations like Samaritans, Armenians, Christian and Muslim Palestinians, and Sinai Bedouins. Accordingly, I highlight Israeli scientists’ prominent role in forging Middle Eastern regional networks to study various hereditary diseases or isolated communities. Even as Western transplants, they represent overall trends in Middle Eastern scientific development and research agendas. As I discuss in several chapters, exiled German Jewish scientists had a visible presence in the transformation of medical education and practice (as well as ideas of race and identity) not only in Mandate Palestine but also in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and other Arab states.26 I therefore contextualize Israeli genetics within its regional geopolitics.

I begin the story of Middle Eastern human genetics in the aftermath of World War I. The interwar period forms the context for the emergence of today’s Middle Eastern nation-states. Through an array of international treaties facilitated by the newly formed League of Nations, the Ottoman Empire was dissolved and much of its territory divided into protectorates, mandates, and client states of France and the United Kingdom. For example, British military control over Palestine dating to 1918 was administratively formalized as the British Mandate for Palestine, recognized by the League of Nations in 1923. The same year, after three years of armed struggle against the Allied occupation of Anatolia, the Turkish National Movement, led by military commander Mustafa Kemal (who later took the name Atatürk), proclaimed the establishment of the Republic of Turkey. Meanwhile, in Iran, another military commander named Reza Khan deposed the ruling Qajar dynasty in 1925 and established his own hereditary rule as the first shah of the Pahlavi dynasty. Both European and Middle Eastern political actors seized upon existing ideological trends and legal structures to legitimize and stabilize the abrupt changes in political administration and state boundaries. These included the academic paradigm of race science, its political counterpart of ethnic nationalism, and its social interpretations into eugenic policies and population transfers.

In this period, Middle Eastern geneticists—whether they worked in sovereign states like Turkey and Iran or under European “protection” and “tutelage” in Egypt and the Mandates—faced analogous challenges. In order to function, each of these polities aimed to establish the autochthony of its ethnic majority within arbitrary territorial boundaries settled partially by international treaties and partially by the armed conflicts those treaties had provoked. All strove to reconcile the readily apparent physical, linguistic, and cultural diversity of their citizenry with an ideology of national unity strongly informed by race science, aiming to reconfigure patterns of group identification along ethnic lines. Scientific data gathered by archaeological expeditions and public health surveys became political ammunition to control the historical narratives of ethnic and religious minorities and to delegitimize the territorial claims of competing nationalisms. The consolidation of a strong central government thus hinged on the enforcement of “internal colonialisms” through political, military, and economic institutions while sharply inhibiting the social visibility and cultural expression of minority groups.27 Scientific discourses on race, medicine, and hygiene were explicitly deployed for the purpose of these projects of internal colonialism.28

Of course, the ideological and infrastructural similarities linking the region’s states are not deterministic, and major domestic fluctuations in their political economies have led to divergent trajectories in the development of scientific research. Regardless, Middle Eastern scientists had much in common and must be understood not only in relation to their aspirations to Western modernity but also through their local working conditions. They studied the same hereditary disorders and overlapping population categories, which formed the logical basis of a regional network. My transnational approach thus provides a framework for analyzing the research interests and practices of these geneticists not only in terms of national self-fashioning but also in terms of their regional and global positionality.


Several ideas and paragraphs found in the Introduction were first published in an article called “‘Essential Collaborators’: Locating Middle Eastern Geneticists in the Global Scientific Infrastructure, 1950s–1970s,” in Comparative Studies of Society and History 60, no. 1 (2018), 119–49.

1. Saini, Superior.

2. On the overall role of science in nationalist identity formation, see, for example, Prakash, Another Reason; Mizuno, Science for the Empire; Harrison and Johnson, National Identity. On the specific relationship between nationalism and human genetics, or “bionationalism,” see, for example, Mukharji, “Profiling the Profiloscope”; Hyun, “Blood Purity and Scientific Independence”; Subramaniam, Holy Science.

3. Nelkin and Lindee, The DNA Mystique, 52.

4. Keller, The Century of the Gene.

5. Mourant to Henry Bunjé, January 27, 1965. PP/AEM/D.2, Box 11, Arthur E. Mourant Papers, Wellcome Library, London. Hereafter “Mourant Papers.”

6. TallBear, Native American DNA, 149–52; Abu El-Haj, The Genealogical Science, 27.

7. Gannett and Griesemer, “The ABO Blood Groups,” 153.

8. Lipphardt, “The Jewish Community of Rome,” 309.

9. Reardon, “Race Without Salvation,” 307; Schaffer, Racial Science and British Society, 1930–62, 10.

10. See Schreiber, The Comfort of Kin; Prager, “‘Dangerous Liaisons.’

11. Existing critiques of methodological nationalism center on the analytical constraints it places on the knowledge produced by the social sciences, including comparative research in science studies; see Wimmer and Glick Schiller, “Methodological Nationalism and Beyond”; Wade et al., Mestizo Genomics; Shostak and Beckfield, “Making a Case for Genetics.”

12. Abu El-Haj, The Genealogical Science, 128.

13. Anderson, Imagined Communities.

14. Simpson, “Imagined Genetic Communities,” 6. As social scientist Venla Oikkonen notes, the contemporary industry of genetic ancestry testing has made possible new forms of communities in which “the revelation of a genetic connection or similarity is often the only tie that initially connects people.” Oikkonen, Population Genetics and Belonging, 179.

15. Gottweis and Kim, “Bionationalism, Stem Cells, BSE, and Web 2.0 in South Korea”; Liu, “Making Taiwanese (Stem Cells)”; Kuo, “Techno-Politics of Genomic Nationalism.” See also the related concept of “genetic romanticism,” which links the practices of contemporary genetic medicine to the folklore studies of nineteenth-century European romantic nationalism: Tupasela, “Genetic Romanticism.”

16. Subramaniam, Holy Science, 175.

17. Duara, Rescuing History from the Nation, 55. Emphasis original.

18. Fan, “The Global Turn in the History of Science,” 253.

19. See the historiographical discussion in Shefer-Mossensohn, Science Among the Ottomans, 1–10.

20. Schayegh, Who Is Knowledgeable Is Strong, 22–24.

21. Lotfalian, “The Iranian Scientific Community and Its Diaspora After the Islamic Revolution.”

22. Khosrokhavar, Etemad, and Mehrabi, “Report on Science in Post-Revolutionary Iran—Part II.”

23. Anderson and Pols, “Scientific Patriotism,” 113.

24. Efron, Defenders of the Race; Steinweis, Studying the Jew.

25. Kirsh, “Population Genetics in Israel in the 1950s”; Kirsh, “Genetic Studies of Ethnic Communities in Israel”; Falk, Zionism and the Biology of the Jews; Abu El-Haj, The Genealogical Science.

26. See, for example, Ergin, “Cultural Encounters in the Social Sciences and Humanities.”

27. Kurds in Turkey have particularly embraced the language of “internal colonialism” to understand their status vis-à-vis Middle Eastern nation-states. See Ünlü, “İsmail Beşikçi as a Discomforting Intellectual”; Houston, “An Anti-History of a Non-People.” For discussions of internal colonialism concerning Palestinians and Mizrahi Jews in Israel and the Yishuv, see Yiftachel, Ethnocracy; Hirsch, “‘We Are Here to Bring the West, Not Only to Ourselves.’” For discussions of internal colonialism targeting non-Persian minorities in Iran, see Asgharzadeh, Iran and the Challenge of Diversity; Elling, Minorities in Iran.

28. See, for example, Salgırlı, “Eugenics for the Doctors”; Hirsch, “‘We Are Here to Bring the West, Not Only to Ourselves.’