GRIDRecent advances in genomic technology have prompted new, and resurrected age-old conversations and debates about the meanings, applications, and implications of “race” in the human species.

Although late 20th century genetics and genomics confirmed that our species is not divided into biological races, some scientific researchers continue to suggest the contrary, especially in biomedical disciplines without a close relationship to evolutionary/population genetics. Consequently, scholarly tensions and popular confusion persist. This raises the following questions:

  • How might we develop more critical discourses about the relationships between race and genetics? What would such intellectual and social progress look like?
  • What are the shared scientific goals (science broadly defined), analytical frameworks, and evidentiary standards that are needed to facilitate sustainable productive outcomes?
  • Will current and emerging knowledge about human genetic variation effect fundamental changes in assumptions and applications concerning concepts of race?

The Center on Genomics, Race, Identity, Difference (GRID) is a global initiative with a vision to inform and transform the conceptualization, use, and impact of race in science, medicine, and society. GRID is part of the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI) and is affiliated with the Department of African & African American Studies, Duke Initiative for Science & Society, and the Duke Global Health Institute. Race features prominently in the title of the center and is a focal point. Additionally, the work of GRID includes related forms of identity such as ancestry, ethnicity, tribe, and geographic and national classifications.

The mission of GRID is to develop and apply practical tools and dynamic strategies for understanding and addressing issues at the intersection of biological and social definitions of race in humans. The following interconnected goals guide the activities of GRID and embody the three core elements of Duke’s mission: 

  1. Conduct pioneering transdisciplinary research and produce scholarship that will shift paradigms and advance the field.
  2. Implement innovative and effective education and training that will increase and diversify the pool of scholars and scientists undertaking efforts that align with the vision of GRID.
  3. Engage diverse publics in the translation and dissemination of outcomes from GRID to foster the development and adoption of transformative policies and practices. 

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