About Janelle Lamoreaux
I am a sociocultural anthropologist focused on reproduction, gender and environmental health. My approach combines social and historical studies of science with medical anthropology.
My first single-authored monograph, Infertile Environments: Epigenetics and Reproductive Toxicology in China is an ethnographic study of gene-environment interaction research conducted by toxicologists who focus on male 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 two related articles about cross-cultural understandings of toxicity: one in Cultural Anthropology about variations in epigenetic understanding of personhood and the "maternal environment," and another in Cross Currents about the harm of endocrine disrupting chemicals. 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 written a book review essay on reproductive environmental justice entitled "Situating Kinmaking and the Population 'Problem'," forthcoming 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.
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 Climates of Change.
I am currently conductory exploratory research on two projects: First, the use of reproductive technologies in coral reef conservation efforts globally, especially in aquarium and other non-ocean settings. Second, the rise of sensory processing or sensory integration disorder (SPD) in the contemporary U.S. I am especially interested in the development of ideas about non-/normative sensory experience as well as the medicalization and biologization of SPD. My preliminary research on this topic, supported by a School of Anthropology Faculty Small Grant and a Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Institute Leveraging Award, asks how ideas of normal and abnormal sensory responses are formalized by the institutionalization of this disorder, as well as how causality does and does not get biologized and individualized by different actors involved in the experience, treatment and research of SPD.
In fall of 2020 I will be teaching Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (ANTH 200). In the spring of 2021 I will be teaching Toxic! The Anthropology of Exposure (ANTH 373) and a graduate course on Ethnographic Research Methods (ANTH 605).
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.sociology.cam.ac.uk/blog/shielding-the-breast-in-an-era-of-climate-change
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
Gender, -Omics, Environment, Reproduction, China, Ethnographic Writing, Feminist Science Studies
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