Departmental Papers (HSS)

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Book Chapter

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Genetic Nature/Culture: Anthropology and Science beyond the Two-Culture Divide

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Provenance is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as the record of the "ultimate derivation and passage of an item through its various owners." The term is most commonly used to describe the history or pedigree of a painting—who has owned it, its value at various stages—but it also has a meaning in silviculture, in which it refers explicitly to genetic stock. Provenance, for forestry professionals, is the record of where a seed was taken and of a character of the "mother trees." In this essay I explore provenance in both sense, as a textual record of the origins of a given object (in this case a blood or tissue sample) and as a record of genetic stock. I focus on fieldwork, which creates a record of origins that can certify the authenticity and reliability of a particular pedigree, which then can acquire status as a form of scientific evidence.

Copyright/Permission Statement

Published as Lindee, M.S. (2003). Provenance and the Pedigree: Victor McKusick's Fieldwork with the Old Order Amish. In Goodman, A.H., Heath, D., and Lindee, M.S. (Eds.), Genetic Nature/Culture: Anthropology and Science beyond the Two-Culture Divide, pp. 41-57. Berkeley: University of California Press. © 2003 by the Regents of the University of California. Copying and permissions notice: Authorization to copy this content beyond fair use (as specified in Sections 107 and 108 of the U. S. Copyright Law) for internal or personal use, or the internal or personal use of specific clients, is granted by the Regents of the University of California for libraries and other users, provided that they are registered with and pay the specified fee via Rightslink® or directly with the Copyright Clearance Center.



Date Posted: 26 October 2017