Janelle Lamoreaux (Sabbatical Fall 2022)

Associate Professor, Anthropology

Division Chair, Sociocultural and Linguistic Anthropology

About Janelle Lamoreaux

I am a sociocultural anthropologist focused on reproduction, gender and environmental health. My approach combines social studies of science with medical anthropology and environmental humanities.

My first single-authored book, In/fertile Environments: epigenetic toxicology and the reproductive health of Chinese Men, is currently in production at Duke University Press. The book explores how reproductive and developmental toxicologists in China imagine and materialize various environments through epigenetic research. Across five chapters -- which discuss the national, hormonal, dietary, maternal and laboratory environments -- I discuss how scientists and activists make sense of the increasingly toxic worlds in which they live. Based on fieldwork conducted in Nanjing during a time when environmental protection was often not explicitly in everyday concerns, but when the amount of toxic exposures faced by people in China was clearly growing, my research approaches epigenetic toxicology as lens through which scientists and others make sense of the embodied and potentially inheritable consequences of political-economic policies and distributed social hierarchies.

In addition to the book,I have published related peer-reviewed articles in Cultural Anthropology about variations in epigenetic understanding of personhood and the "maternal environment," in Cross Currents about the harm of endocrine disrupting chemicals can move beyond individualized human and non-human bodies, and in Medical Anthropology Quarterly on the increase of attention toward the intergenerational effects of toxic exposure or "Passing Down Pollution". I have also contributed to various online forums, including SomatosphereFieldsights, and this CA author interview. A short, personal essay on gender and toxicity is published in Environmental History as part of a forum called "Of Perpetrators and Victims."

I am part of a collaborative research effort around the theme Reproducing the Environment, co-organized with Katharine Dow from University of Cambridge. We are exploring how reproductive technologies (broadly defined) are used to mitigate environmental problems, as well as questions about how and why environmental issues are often framed through questions of reproduction and future generations. We have published a book review essay on reproductive environmental justice entitled "Situating Kinmaking and the Population 'Problem'," in Environmental Humanities. The Reproducing the Environment initiative is now being conducted in conjunction with the Wellcome Trust funded Changing In/Fertilities project, of which I am a network participant, in particular its (In)fertile Environments sub-group.

I am also a participant in the Wellcome Trust funded Biosocial Birth Cohort Research Network (BBCR), which examines and utilizes birth cohort studies as reflexive method, and working with lead organizer of the network, Dr. Sahra Gibbon, on questions of integernational ethnography. I recently published an essay on this topic at Somatosphere, and co-edited a special issue of Medical Anthropology Quarterly, called Towards Intergenerational Ethnography (2021).

I am currently conductory exploratory research on two projects:

The first thinks through the recent rise in "sensory integration disorder" - defined and diagnosed by a number of actors from occupational therapists to nueroscientists, to nuerodiverse individuals themselves. I am especially interested in gendered and racialized questions of diagnosis and treatment, as well as the technical and ethical difficulties of conducting research on environmental etiologies of SPD. The preliminary research for this project is supported by a School of Anthropology Faculty Small Grant and the University of Arizona's Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Institute Leveraging Award. 

Second, I am conducting background research on "cryoconservation" initiatives - or conservation efforts that primarily depend on technologies of cryopreservation. I am especially interested in the use of reproductive technologies to conserve biodiversity in the present so that it may be reproduced in the future. This is happening in a variety of seed, spore and gamete banking project, from Arizona to Taiwan. I am thinking through how the global rise of -omic understandings of egg and sperm as beings-in-relation seem to be contradicted by apocalyptic scientific imaginaries which interpret "life itself" as the future savior.

In Spring semester 2023 I am teaching History of Anthropological Theory (ANTH 608B) and Anthropology of Reproduction (ANTH 434).

Selected Publications

2021  “Passing Down Pollution”: (Inter)generational toxicology and (epi)genetic environmental health. Special Issue, Towards Intergenerational Ethnography: Kinship, Cohorts and Environments in and beyond the (bio)social sciences. Sahra Gibbon and Janelle Lamoreaux, eds. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 35(4): 529-546

2021 Towards Intergenerational Ethnography: Kinship, Cohorts and Environments in and Beyond the Biosocial Sciences. Sahra Gibbon and Janelle Lamoreaux (eds). Medical Anthropology Quarterly 35(4): 423-440.

2021 "Reproducing Toxicity." Environmental History 26(2). Forum on "Toxins in Environmental History".

2020 "Situated Kinmaking and the Population 'Problem'" Environmental Humanities 12(2) https://read.dukeupress.edu/environmental-humanities/article/12/2/475/167000

2020. "Toxicology and the Chemistry of Cohort Kinship," Somatosphere, http://somatosphere.net/2020/chemical-kinship.html/

2019. "Epigenetic In/Fertilities." Theorizing the Contemporary, Fieldsights, April 25. https://culanth.org/fieldsights/epigenetic-in-fertilities

2019. "'Swimming in Poison': Reimagining Endocrine Disruption through China’s Environmental Hormones." Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review (e-journal) 30: 78–100. https://cross-currents.berkeley.edu/e-journal/issue-30/lamoreaux.

2018 Gendered Bioeconomies. (This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter in Handbook of Genomics, Health and Society published by Routledge in April 2018, available online: https://www.routledge.com/Routledge-Handbook-of-Genomics-Health-and-Society-2nd-Edition/Gibbon-Prainsack-Hilgartner-Lamoreaux/p/book/9781315451695

2016 "What if the Environment is a Person? Lineages of Epigenetics in a Toxic China," Cultural Anthropology 31(2): 188-214, https://culanth.org/articles/806-what-if-the-environment-is-a-person-lineages-of

2016 It's Artificial, naturally! Shielding the breast in an era of climate change. Reproductive Sociology Research Group Blog. University of Cambridge. http://www.reprosoc.com/blog/2016/12/2/its-artificial-naturally-shielding-the-breast-in-an-era-of-climate-change

2016 Lust. Money. Impotence: A Review of the book The Impotence Epidemic: Men’s Medicine and Sexual Desire in Contemporary China. Current Anthropology 57(1).

2015 Making a Case for Reducing Pollution in China, or The Case of the Ugly Sperm. Ethnographic Case Series. Somatosphere. http://somatosphere.net/2015/10/making-a-case-for-reducing-pollution-in-china-or-the-case-of-the-ugly-sperm.html

2015 Book Review: Powerless Science? Science and Politics in a Toxic World. Medicine Anthropology Theory 1(1) http://www.medanthrotheory.org/read/3929/powerless-science-science-and-politics-in-a-toxic-world

Courses Taught

ANTH 200: Intro to Cultural Anthropology (Fall semester, each year)

ANTH 373: Toxic! The Anthropology of Exposure (Spring semester, odd years)

ANTH 406: Anthropology of Gender

ANTH 605: Ethnographic Research Methods (Fall, even years)

ANTH 696B: Anthropology, Environment, Health; Reproducing the Environment

Research Interests

Anthropology of Science, Gender, -Omics, Environment, Reproduction, East Asia