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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.

My first single-authored monograph, Reproducing Toxicity: Epigenetic Environments and Infertility in China, is an ethnographic study of gene-environment interaction research conducted by toxicologists who focus on men's reproductive health. It is primarily about how toxicologists make knowledge through epigenetic research practices that bring into being various forms of the environment. But it is also about how environmental health 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 toxicity as a material and existential condition in which people struggle to make sense of the embodied, and potentially inheritable consequences of political-economic policies and distributed social hierarchies.

In addition to the book I have three related peer-reviewed articles: one in Cultural Anthropology about variations in epigenetic understanding of personhood and the "maternal environment," another in Cross Currents about the harm of endocrine disrupting chemicals, and a third soon to be published at Medical Anthropology Quarterly titled "Passing Down Pollution". I have also contributed to various online forums on the topic, including a Somatosphere post, a Fieldsights post, and an author interview.

I am co-editor of the updated edition to the Routledge Handbook of Genomics, Health and Society (with Sahra Gibbon, Barbara Prainsack and Stephen Hilgartner). The Handbook provides an overview of classic and emergent topics in the social studies of (post-)genomics. This includes a chapter I authored on Gendered Bioeconomies.

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 network, which examines and utilizes birth cohort studies as reflexive method, and working with organizer of the network, Dr. Sahra Gibbon, on how integernational ethnography rethinks kinship, especially in relation to chemical toxicity.  I recently published an essay on this topic on Somatosphere, and I am co-editing a special issue on a closely related topic Intergenerational Ethnography: Un/Making Kin in Changing Environments to be published by Medical Anthropology Quarterly in 2021. I also wrote a short, personal essay on gender and toxicity for Environmental History, which will be published in April.

I am currently conductory exploratory research on two projects: First, the rise of reproductomics, or the turn to -omics in studies of human and non human reproductive health, as well as the "personalization" of -omic technologies in human fertiity treatment and nonhuman conservation efforts. I have an article currently under review on this topic. Second, this summer I will begin pilot interviews on environmental etiologies of "sensory integration disorder" and nuerodiversities more generally. This research is supported by a School of Anthropology Faculty Small Grant and informed by reviews and meta-anaylsis funded by the University of Arizona's Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Institute Leveraging Award.

In the spring of 2021 I am teaching Toxic! The Anthropology of Exposure (ANTH 373) and a graduate course on Ethnographic Research Methods (ANTH 605). In fall of 2021 I will teach 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
Telephone: (520) 621-0373
Office: Haury 306
Office Hours: Please email for an appointment, or for a link to my office hours sign-up sheet


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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