The Introduction lays out the theoretical stakes of the work as a whole. It opens with a critical evaluation of the work of acclaimed geneticist Spencer Wells, whose 2002 publication The Journey of Man has helped frame the now-standard interpretation of human evolution and migration from a single set of ancestors out of Africa. Wells’s account of human evolution reveals the epistemic authority that modern genetics has obtained on the question of race and human beginnings. It is argued that contemporary biologists inherited this authority, however, from their Christian intellectual ancestors, who provided modern scientists with a cache of interpretive tools and assumptions that proved useful for narrating the development of human life and constructing theories of racial difference believed to supersede all previous accounts of human origins. After laying out the theoretical ground to be covered, this introductory chapter provides an overview of the chapters that follow.
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