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Anita Foeman – Diversity: Using a Balanced Hand in These Fraught Times

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Show Topic:
The labels that define us often divide us. But what if your DNA could change the conversation about identity and race? One professor and her students are proving it can. Did you know that all humans at 99.9% identical in their genetic makeup. Differences are only 0.1%!

  In this episode, host CMA’s David Ciullo discusses, with Anita Foeman, PHD, Director of the DNA Discussion Project and author of the book “Who Am I”, an optimistic way to discuss Diversity: Using a Balanced Hand in the Fraught Times.

  The DNA Discussion Project encourages the community to talk about diversity in a new, positive, and engaging way. Ancestry stories focus on the 99.9% of what we all have in common while addressing the 0.1% appropriately.

About The Guest:

Dr. Anita Foeman is Professor Emeritus of the Communication and Media Department at West Chester University, where she taught for 40 years.  Dr. Foeman received her PhD from Temple University in 1982 in Communication with a concentration in Organizational Communication. She was one of the first in her field to publish on diversity in the workplace as a positive development. Her co-authored article “Ethnic Culture and Corporate Culture” published in 1987, was one of the first to articulate a positive image of workplace diversity.  Dr. Foeman’s ongoing scholarship and training explore diversity in society, including multicultural organizations, families, and people. Her work includes over 30 years of publication and ongoing diversity and leadership consulting for educational, government, and private agencies from Haverford College and Princeton University to the Chester County Foodbank. Her orientation has always been optimistic and inclusive.

  For the past two decades, Dr. Foeman’s research has examined identity based on ancestry DNA data. This project has tested over 3,000 individuals and is the most extensive project of its type. Her first publication on this work was “Science and Magic: DNA and the Racial Narratives that Shape the Social Construction of Race in the USA” published in 2006. This work has been followed by a series of articles (three published in 2023) and professional presentations, including publications in Communication Monographs, Communication Quarterly, the journal Identity, and the open-access journal Genealogy. Her work has received coverage in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Here & Now on NPR, the BBC News Hour, National Geographic Magazine, National Geographic Explorer, and NOVA. Her coauthored book Who Am I? Identity in the Age of Consumer DNA Testing was released in February 2021 and received an award for Most Promising Textbook from Textbook and Academic Authors Association in 2022. Dr. Foeman competed two 12-part series for the Great Course organization (now Wondrium, one entitled Identity in the Age of Ancestry DNA and another to be released in September 2023 How to Talk About Race.