Peopling the Americas #623

April 11, 2023

Thousands of years ago, people crossed a land bridge from Siberia to Western Alaska and dispersed southward into what we now call the Americas. The story of exactly when that was, how they did it, and who they were has fascinated us for a long time as excavations have uncovered pieces of those stories. University of Kansas Associate Professor of Anthropology Jennifer Raff joins us to talk about her book "Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas", digging into the ways modern genetics is being used to help us understand the history of people dispersing across the Americas. Along the way we learn more about how scientists have mis-stepped in their interactions with Indigenous people, and how new partnerships are being created to more respectfully investigate this history.


  • Jennifer Raff
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Guest Bios

Jennifer Raff

Jennifer Raff is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Kansas with a dual Ph.D. in anthropology and genetics and many years of experience in researching ancient and modern human DNA from the Americas. In addition to her research, she's been writing on issues of scientific literacy and anthropological research at her own website, Violent Metaphors, and for The Guardian, HuffPost, Forbes, and Evolution Institute blogs for several years. She is the author of the book "Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas".