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Anthony Di Fiore, Chair SAC 4.102, Mailcode C3200 78712 • 512-471-4206

Kim TallBear

Professor Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz

Associate Professor
Kim TallBear


  • Phone: (512) 232-3832
  • Office: SAC 5.138
  • Office Hours: Fall 2014: Tuesdays 2:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m., Wednesdays 11 a.m.-12 p.m. and by appointment
  • Campus Mail Code: C3200


In Fall 2013, Kim TallBear joined the University of Texas as Associate Professor of Anthropology. She was previously a Donald D. Harrington Fellow at the University of Texas in 2012-13 and Assistant Professor of Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.

Kim studies how genomics is co-constituted with ideas of race and indigeneity, the topic of her 2013 monograph, Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science (University of Minnesota Press). Kim’s more recent research project is entitled: “Constituting Knowledge across Cultures of Expertise and Tradition: Indigenous Bio-scientists.” She is interested in the role of Native American and other indigenous scientists in the democratization and making more multi-cultural of the biological sciences. Kim is also interested indigenous scientists’ roles of in the development of scientific governance within indigenous communities. Most recently, Kim has become interested in the overlap between constructions of "nature" and "sexuality," including as they are analyzed within the burgeoning literature on "queer ecologies."

Kim just ended a three-year term as an elected Council Member to the international Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA). She has published research, policy, review, and opinion articles on a variety of issues related to science, technology, environment, and culture in anthologies and journals including Social Studies of Science; Science, Technology & Human Values; Aboriginal Policy Studies; Current Anthropology; The Journal of Law Medicine, and Ethics; Science; The Wicazo Sa Review, International Journal of Cultural Property; and Indian Country Today. Kim has advised tribal and other indigenous governmental organizations, federal agencies, science museums, and genome researchers and policymakers on issues related to indigenous peoples, science, and technology.

Kim blogs about science, technology, and indigenous issues at, and tweets @KimTallBear. She hails from Dakota peoples in Minnesota and South Dakota. She is enrolled in the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate and is also descended from the Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma.


Anthropology and cultural studies of science, technology, and nature; indigenous studies; race and genetics

ANT 324L • Indigenizing Queer Theory

30635 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm SAC 4.118
(also listed as WGS 335 )
show description

This course will introduce students to emerging working by indigenous queer theorists, largle from the U.S., although international indigenous perspectives will be brought in where available.  The course will also present work that may not fall specifically within queer theory literatures but which examine cultural conflicts between the west and indigenous worldviews and practices (both in the past and present).  For example, conflicts surrounding monogamy and marriage, or smae-sex marriage will be covered.  Broader issues covered will include gender binaries, sexual identities and practices, their regulation by the colonial state and implications then for indigenous people.  The course will foreground indigenous standpoints, indigenous cultural practices and analytical and ethical frameworks to help us think through class topics.  Course readings will be drawn from anthropology, cultural studies, literaure, film and media, and gender and women's studies/feminist studies.

ANT 391 • Race And Science

30815 • Spring 2015
Meets W 900am-1200pm SAC 5.124
show description

This course examines the scientific study of race.  We will trace the history of racial science and scientific racism, and we will explore the ways that race is constructed and understood in anthropology, biology, psychology, Native American and indigenous studies, medicine, and forensics.  We will also evaluate both the nature and significance of human biological diversity.  This approach will make it possible for us to understand why some recent scientific research reifies race as genetic, and it will help us develop effective strategies for discussing and conveying the complex nature of race. This course will also consider the implications of such research for Native Americans and other non-dominant populations. This course is co-taught by Kim TallBear and Deborah Bolnick.  It counts as a core course for Anthropology graduate students, and has been approved for the Native American and Indigenous Studies Graduate Certificate.


ANT 336L • Natv Amer Culs North Of Mex

31565 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm CLA 0.112
(also listed as AMS 321 )
show description

This upper-division undergraduate course examines contemporary articulations of indigenous cultures and practices in the U.S. and Canada. Because the present cannot be understood without understanding historically how we got to here, this course includes histories that inform the contemporary. We will cover critical developments that shape and are shaped by late 20th century and early 21st century indigenous life. Issues include but are not limited to the American Indian Movement; IdleNoMore; tribal and First Nation citizenship politics; the politics of race and indigeneity in the U.S. and Canada; gaming and other economic development strategies; residential schools; evolving kinship practices; indigenous feminisms, masculinities, and sexualities; indigenous environmental and religious politics (including how “environment” and “religion” are inadequate for understanding those politics!); food sovereignty movements; and science, technology and Native Americans. Course readings come from anthropology, U.S. and Canadian indigenous studies, history, and cultural studies. We will read scholarly work, blogs, and other popular literature. The course features several guest speakers, some via Skype.


ANT 392M • Intro To Grad Social Anthro

31700 • Fall 2014
Meets T 900am-1200pm SAC 5.118
show description

This course introduces students to theory in sociocultural anthropology from its colonial roots to the contemporary period. This course is not a history of anthropological theory, but will provide a chronological and contextualized perspective as we explore and interpret the relationships between varying and, at times, competing theoretical, epistemological, and ethical claims on anthropology.

ANT 324L • Indigenous Naturecultures

31665 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm CLA 0.106
show description

This upper-division undergraduate course examines contemporary indigenous knowledges and practices about “nature” and “culture.” Indigenous knowledges and practices often don’t fit well within the taken-for-granted Western categories of “nature” vs. “culture,” “science” vs. “religion,” “human” vs. “animal,” or “animate” vs. “inanimate.” Are indigenous peoples wrong, or somehow less advanced than the West in constructing their knowledge of the world with fewer, more fluid or different categories? And sometimes with methods that don’t look quite like science? Is “indigenous knowledge” better than Western science, an older and therefore less advanced form of science, science mixed with religion, or not science at all? And when indigenous peoples do use what we understand as proper Western science what happens when they entangle it with culture or religion? What does that do to the science and to indigenous tradition? Course readings come from anthropology, indigenous studies, environmental studies, geography, philosophy, religious studies, and (feminist) science and technology studies. This course will feature several films and guest speakers (sometimes on Skype). We will also take up applied environmental science, natural resource management, and policy readings from Native American and other indigenous communities. A foundational ethic of this course is that students who seek to understand indigenous life (and simultaneously strengthen their ability to critically analyze dominant knowledge categories and scientific practices) should learn to move among the cultures of the social sciences, natural sciences, and applied fields (i.e. policy or planning literatures). Indigenous communities bring all of these approaches into conversation when they engage with “environment” or “nature.” This is part of their/our strategy to survive and flourish in the 21st century.  


Native American DNA

Native American DNA


Kim TallBear

Native American DNA
Fall 2013
University of Minnesota Press


This Stretch of the River


Refereed Chapters, Articles, and Commentaries (selected)

Edmunds, D., R. Shelby, A. James, M. Baker, Y. V. Perez, and K. TallBear. “Tribal Housing, Co-Design & Cultural Sovereignty.” Science, Technology & Human Values. Published online before print June 25, 2013, doi: 10.1177/0162243913490812: 1-28.


TallBear, Kim. "Genomic Articulations of Indigeneity." Social Studies of Science 43(4) (August 2013): 509-534.


Reardon, Jenny and Kim TallBear. "Your DNA is Our History." Genomics, Anthropology, and the Construction of Whiteness as Property." Current Anthropology 53(S12) (April 2012): S233-S245.


TallBear, Kimberly. "Commentary" (on Decoding Implications of the Genographic Project for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage). International Journal of Cultural Property 16 (2009): 189-192.


TallBear, Kimberly. "DNA and Native American Identity." In indivisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas, ed. Gabrielle Tayac. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, 2009: 69-75.


Lee, S. S-J., D. Bolnick, T. Duster, P. Ossorio, and K. TallBear. The Illusive Gold Standard in Genetic Ancestry Testing. Science 325 (5943) (July 3, 2009): 38-39.


TallBear, Kimberly. “Native-American-DNA.coms: In Search of Native American Race and Tribe,” Revisiting Race in a Genomic Age, edited by Barbara Koenig, Sandra Soo-Jin Lee, and Sarah Richardson. Rutgers University Press, 2008.


Bolnick, Deborah A., Duana Fullwiley, Troy Duster, Richard S. Cooper, Joan H. Fujimura, Jonathan Kahn, Jay Kaufman, Jonathan Marks, Ann Morning, Alondra Nelson, Pilar Ossorio, Jenny Reardon, Susan M. Reverby, and Kimberly TallBear. “The Science and Business of Genetic Ancestry,” Science, 318(5849) (October 19, 2007): 399-400.


TallBear, Kimberly. “Narratives of Race and Indigeneity in the Genographic Project,” Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Vol. 35(3) (Fall 2007): 412-424.


TallBear, Kimberly. “DNA, Blood and Racializing the Tribe,” In ‘Mixed Race’ Studies: A Reader, edited by Jayne O. Ifekwunige. London and New York: Routledge, 2004. First published in Wicazo Sá Review Vol. 18(1) (2003): 81-107.


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TallBear, Kim. “The Emergence, Politics, and Marketplace of Native American DNA.” The Routledge Handbook of Science and Technology Studies, edited by Daniel Lee Kleinman and Kelly Moore. London: Routledge.

Forthcoming in 2014

L. Noel, D. C. Hamilton, A. Rodriguez, A. James, N. Rich, D.S. Edmunds, and K. TallBear. “Bitter Medicine is Stronger: A Recipe for Acorn Mush and the Recovery of Pomo Peoples of Northern California.” The Multispecies Salon: Gleanings from a Para-Site, edited by Eben Kirksey. Durham: Duke University Press.

Forthcoming in 2013

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Other Publications (selected)

The Political Economy of Tribal Citizenship in the US: Lessons for Canadian First Nations? Aboriginal Policy Studies 1(3) (2011): 70-79.


Commentary on Barack Obama and American Exceptionalism. Indian Country Today. September 12, 2008.

Cecilia Fire Thunder and a Considered Response to Abortion at Pine Ridge, World Pulse Magazine (September 2006).


Can DNA Determine Who is an Indian? Indian Country Today. December 3, 2003.

With Deborah Bolnick, Native American DNA Tests: What are the Risks to Tribes? The Native Voice. December 3-7, 2004.


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In the Media


New Books in Science, Technology, and Society

Kim TallBear: Native American DNA
Kim TallBear’s new book transcends academic disciplines. Bringing together STS, Native American and Indigenous Studies, histories of science and race, ethnography, and cultural studies, Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science (University of Minnesota Press, 2013) traces a genealogy of “Native American DNA” as an object, an instrument, and an idea. (March 16, 2014)



New Scientist: 'There is no DNA test to prove you're Native American'

'There is no DNA test to prove you're Native American'
DNA testing is changing how Native Americans think about tribal membership. Anthropologist Kim Tallbear warns that genetic tests are a blunt tool. She tells Linda Geddes why tribal identity is not just a matter of blood ties. (February 13, 2014)

Read More


At the Edge of Canada: Indigenous Research Interview

Combating Colonial Technosciece: Lessons from the Frontline
Kim Tallbear discusses her lecture at the University of Manitoba about Combating Colonial Technosciece: Lessons from the Frontline in October 2013. More details found on the website: At the Edge of Canada.



New Books in Native American Studies

Kim TallBear: Native American DNA
Kim Tallbear discusses her research on the politics of "human genome diversity" explored in her book, Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science (November 23, 2013)



Native America Calling

October Book of the Month: Native American DNA
In her new book, “Native American DNA,” Native author Kim Tallbear (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate) takes a look at the growing field of racial science and DNA testing. She has followed the rise of DNA testing and raises some unique questions for Native America about identity. In the book, she also explores what DNA testing could mean for future generations, including the possibility of undermining claims to land, resources and sovereignty. How much weight would you put on DNA testing to determine Native American ancestry? Could calling on science to identify your Nativeness be troublesome down the road for you or your tribe? (October 25, 2013)



First Person Radio, KFAI

Kimberly Tallbear on First Person Radio
Laura Wittstock (First Person Radio, KFAI "Radio Without Boundaries," 90.3 and 106.7, Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota) talks with guest Kimberly M. Tallbear, Associate Professor of anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of a new book, Native American DNA (University of Minnesota Press). In the book, Tallbear shows how DNA testing is a powerful and problematic scientific process. Ms Tallbear describes the DNA "markers" that are applied to specific groups such as Native American tribes. (October 23, 2013)



Black Mask: CKUW Winnipeg


Interview on Genome Research in Indigenous Communities
Kim Tallbear speaks with Praba Pilar on Black Mask, a radio news show on politics from an anarchist perspective. CKUW Winnipeg (September 25, 2013)


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