Exciting news!

For the last year, alongside learning about the joys and challenges of new motherhood and doing my academic work, I’ve also been quietly working on a new project. That new project is finally in a place where I can share it with people: I’m thrilled to announce that last week I signed a book contract with Twelve Books !

My book (which is tentatively titled “Origin”) will be a history of the Americas, from initial peopling to the present day, through the lens of genetics. But I’m also going to use this as an opportunity to continue my blogging mission on a bigger scale: to teach people about the fundamentals of genetics, ancient DNA, and showcase stories from the remarkable work of my colleagues in the field of anthropological genetics.

I’m not just going to be talking about the science either. The news of Elizabeth Warren’s genetic testing results this week has highlighted just how interested the public is in the intersection of questions about ancestry and identity…and just how confused people are about what DNA testing results mean and don’t mean. I want to do my small part to help people understand these issues, particularly when it comes to claims about Native American ancestry, as I did earlier this week in my new piece for Forbes. And oh yes…. I will be talking about race and genetics. I may do it imperfectly, but I’m not going to shy away from that topic when it’s so critical to this present moment.

I’m acutely aware of the fact that I’m a non-Native person writing about extraordinarily sensitive issues, and I am grateful for the help that many of my Native American colleagues have generously offered for this project. I’m also grateful to the many scientists (both Native and non-Native) whose research I will be featuring (if you would like to chat with me about your work, email me or hit me up at the AAPAs!).

So, if all goes well, I should have a finished manuscript in about a year from now, and a published book a little while after that. I’ll let everyone know more when we are closer to having a book (!) for you to read. Thank you all so much for your support and good wishes–they really mean the world to me.

9 thoughts on “Exciting news!

  1. doritmi October 18, 2018 / 8:28 am

    Congratulations! Looking forward to it. Let us know when preorder is available.

  2. cakmn October 18, 2018 / 1:06 pm

    Sounds interesting. May all go well for you in your many endeavors, especially your motherhood!

    “as I did earlier this week in my new piece for Forbes.” — that link actually goes to twelvebooks rather than Forbes.

  3. K.E.Moriarty - Machala, Ecuador October 18, 2018 / 2:42 pm

    Congratulations on your new endeavor. I look forward to reading it when it’s completed.

  4. Paul K. Strode October 18, 2018 / 11:29 pm


    But a bit of advice for writing a book: You are never done writing… but there are deadlines.


  5. Pat Wong October 19, 2018 / 8:19 am

    I would like to preorder 10 copies please!
    Very exciting, some how you make genetics exciting.

  6. meghan October 29, 2018 / 9:55 am

    So excited! As I reread all of your posts before teaching to get up-to-date on the genetic evidence for the peopling of the americas!

  7. DBP November 11, 2018 / 3:11 pm

    Congrats, I will buy a copy. I came on today to see if you had a post up about the recent flurry of articles in about ancient DNA in the Americas. We’re waiting for it Dr. Raff.

    • Jennifer Raff November 11, 2018 / 3:12 pm

      I’m a little behind 🙂 , but I will have one out in the next day or two, promise!

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