Congratulations to Hailey Walker who was selected for a 2023 SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship. This SSHRC fellowship will enable Hailey to continue her excellent research while she studies political science at Carleton.
About Hailey’s research:
“The advent of genetic testing and ancestry services has transformed personal and familial genealogy from the niche pursuit of family tree hobbyists to a multi-billion-dollar industry. One firm has come to dominate this booming market. Over the last decade, Ancestry.com has amassed an astonishing collection of over 30 billion archival artefacts including international birth, marriage, and death records, census and voter data, immigration and travel records, military enlistment and casualty records, school and church directories, and tax, crime, land, and will records. However, political scientists have been slow to recognize Ancestry’s ‘data-fied’ and internationalized archival breadth as a phenomenon worthy of deeper investigation. Such investigation is warranted not only because of the colossal data store this private actor has amassed, but also because of the cultural-governmental logics that have contributed to the stockpiling and subsequent deployment of this data toward various private and public ends. As such, my dissertation positions Ancestry.com as a key political actor in digitalized societies (alongside other data giants like Google and Facebook) and as a political actor that necessarily blurs the public-private divide via its consolidation and deployment of a global and digitized data archive. Doing so will illuminate the role Ancestry.com plays in inciting, transforming, and governing wider sociopolitical conceptions of identity, history, place and belonging. Ultimately, this research will advance scholarly understanding of new modes of governing populations and will materialize and problematize the ‘culture of identity’ that is inseparable from the proliferation of these new modes of governance.”