Eugenics, Epigenetics, and Obesity Predisposition Among Mexican Mestizos

Abril Saldana-Tejeda, Peter Wade

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Abstract

We compare the discourses on obesity found in early- and mid-twentieth century Mexican public discourse with those of Mexican geneticists and doctors today. We argue that postgenomic shifts towards non-determinism, apparently contained in current openness to epigenetics, need to be considered alongside the persistence of racialized genetic determinisms, and alongside the potential for epigenetic environmental determinisms. By exploring the environmentalist explanations of earlier eugenic thinking about obesity, we trace continuities in the gendered and racialized framings of obesity, which risk stigmatizing indigenous ancestry and attributing blame to individual mothers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)644-679
JournalMedical Anthropology
Volume38
Issue number8
Early online date24 Apr 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Epigenetics
  • eugenics
  • genomics
  • obesity
  • Mexico
  • mestizos
  • indigenous ancestry

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