Document Type



Seeking to advance and understand trends in the genetics of Jewish populations, this special issue focuses on Jewish population genetics, setting new developments in relation not only to past population genetic studies but also in the broader context of Jewish studies scholarship. The special issue builds upon a course of the same name that we held jointly in the biology and Jewish studies programs at Stanford University in the autumn of 2012, featuring the issue’s contributors as guest lecturers. Human population genetics is, in part, a form of historical endeavor, potentially illuminating the effects of social practices such as endogamy and conversion, the history of population relationships, and the magnitude, direction, and timing of migration events. At the same time, the field can be viewed as historically situated, with its underlying assumptions, its expression in language, and its cultural reverberations and social implications subject to research in their own right. As a collection of articles spanning multiple forms of inquiry, this special issue aims to both present and contextualize current research, discussing its cultural environment and the challenges that lie ahead.