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Reproductive Sociology Research Group


Educated at University of Southern California, Cambridge University, and Princeton, her first book was on tribal and national identities in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (Princeton University Press 1994). 

In her second book, Motherhood Lost: A Feminist Account of Pregnancy Loss in America (Routledge 2003), she explored how reproductive technologies had changed the experience of pregnancy and pregnancy loss. She developed a women’s health approach to child-bearing loss through an 11-part, award-winning television series.

She is editor or coeditor of nine books or special issues including two early volumes on anthropology and STS, two prize-winning volumes on reproduction, and a volume on Feminist Technology. Her work has addressed neonatal intensive care units, sonograms, home pregnancy tests, menstrual suppressing birth control pills.

Selfishness and Selflessness: New Approaches to Understanding Morality, a collection of essays by anthropologists and historians will be published in the Wyse Series in Social Anthropology by Berghahn Press in March 2020.   A number of chapters address reproduction: Faircloth on breastfeeding, Mohr on sperm donors, Graham and Layne on single mothers by choice, Strathern on organ donation. 

She is currently working on Uncanny Kinship, a comparative study of four contemporary family types that lack one member of the normative nuclear family: single mothers by choice, two-mom families, two-dad families, and families that have suffered a pregnancy loss, based on published first-person narratives.  A side-bar of this project is a series on gay dads: four review essays published in Reproductive Biomedicine & Society Online and an opinion piece in BioNews.

Her other project is All the Credit, All the Blame, an in-depth case study of one heterosexual American Single Mother by Choices that explores neoliberal cultures of parenting.

Visiting Professor
Affiliated Faculty Member, Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge
Director of Studies for Social Anthropology and Bye-Fellow, Girton College, Cambridge
 Linda  Layne