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Janelle Lamoreaux

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: a study of epigenetic toxicology in five parts, explores how toxicologists in China materialize and reimagine the environment through epigenetic research on men's reproductive health. Under contract at Duke University Press and anticipated in 2022, the book explores the national, hormonal, dietary, maternal and laboratory environments to 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 protecting the natural environment was not explicitly a part of everyday concerns, but the amount of toxic exposures faced by people in China was clearly growing, my research approaches reproductive toxicity as a flawed but persuasive lens through which toxicologists 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"), Cross Currents (about the harm of endocrine disrupting chemicals reimagined through environmental hormones (huanjing jisu), and forthcoming in Medical Anthropology Quarterly on the increasingly common idea of "Passing Down Pollution". I have also contributed to various online forums on the topic, including Somatosphere, Fieldsights post, and this CA author interview. I also wrote a short, personal essay on gender and toxicity for Environmental History as part of a forum called "Of Perpetrators and Victims," which was published in July 2021.

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 lead organizer of the network, Dr. Sahra Gibbon, on questions of integernational ethnography. I recently published an essay on this topic at Somatosphere, and am co-editing a special issue to be published by Medical Anthropology Quarterly in December 2021, called Towards Intergenerational Ethnography.

I am currently conductory exploratory research on two projects: The first thinks through the recent rise in "sensory processing disorders" - 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. To be commenced when it is again safe to travel, I am especially interested in the use of reproductive technologies to conserve "nature" - defined as the egg and sperm of a vareity of species, including coral in the East China Sea. Here, 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 fall of 2021 I am teaching Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (ANTH 200).


Selected Publications

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

2020 "Situated Kinmaking and the Population 'Problem'" Environmental Humanities 12(2)

2020. "Toxicology and the Chemistry of Cohort Kinship," Somatosphere,

2019. "Epigenetic In/Fertilities." Theorizing the Contemporary, Fieldsights, April 25.

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.

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:

2016 "What if the Environment is a Person? Lineages of Epigenetics in a Toxic China," Cultural Anthropology 31(2): 188-214,

2016 It's Artificial, naturally! Shielding the breast in an era of climate change. Reproductive Sociology Research Group Blog. University of Cambridge.

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 Book Review: Powerless Science? Science and Politics in a Toxic World. Medicine Anthropology Theory 1(1)

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)                                 Fall 2020 class POSTPONED to Spring 2021

ANTH 696B: Anthropology, Environment, Health

Research Interests

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

Janelle Lamoreaux's picture

Contact Information

Assistant Professor; Sociocultural and Linguistic Anthropology Division Chair
Telephone: (520) 621-0373
Office: Haury 306
Office Hours: For students in ANTH 200: TTH 12:15-1:00; For graduate students: sign up online (email me for a link to the sign-up sheet if you do not have it); For other undergraduate students or general public: please email me for an appointment


PhD in Medical Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco

MA in Anthropology, New School for Social Research

BA in Sociology/Anthropology, Lewis and Clark College

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