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Reproductive Sociology Research Group

Studying at Cambridge


Dr. Noémie Merleau-Ponty

Dr. Noémie Merleau-Ponty

Research Associate

Office Phone: 01223 332459


My research concerns bioscientific practices in research facilities and hospitals related to human reproduction and health. In India and France, I look at the intertwining of local contexts and global dynamics. Trained as a social anthropologist, I am also inspired by feminist science and technology studies. Although I primarily work ethnographically, I develop interdisciplinary collaborations between the social and life sciences.

My Ph.D. dissertation, entitled “In Vitro Human Cultures”, is a study of laboratory activities in assisted conception and research contexts. In India and in France, I worked with biologists and studied their practices of culturing cells. The resulting multi-sited and comparative ethnography examines the interfaces of in vitro fertilization and stem cell science. After completing my doctoral research in Paris, at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Anthropology department of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.). Funded by Fondation Fyssen, I investigated ongoing scientific research on a human embryonic cell line.

As a Research Associate in ReproSoc, I participate to a collaborative and interdisciplinary project called Life in Translation. I am also working on a book written from the dissertation and on a project which looks at epigenetics and fertility in France and India as well as at the global scientific networks that shape these researches. I am focusing on how the epigenetics of infertility is being produced and circulated inside academic spheres, media and medical consultations.


Key Publications

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Merleau-Ponty Noémie. In press. "Sélectionner des embryons humains. Une relation opératoire au sein de laboratoires de biologie de la reproduction en Inde et en France". L'Homme. n°225 (janvier-mars 2018)

Milanovic Fabien, Merleau-Ponty Noémie & Pitrou Perig. 2017. “Biobanques: quelles reconfigurations pour le vivant? Approches interdisciplinaires”. Natures Sciences et Sociétés. Recherches et Débats interdisciplinaires 25 (3), pp. 268-275. Rubrique « Vie de la Recherche ».

Merleau-Ponty Noémie. 2017. “Féconder in Vitro Dans Des Laboratoires En Inde et En France : Une Somatotechnique ?” Ethnologie française, n°3, pp.511-520

Merleau-Ponty Noémie. 2016. “Sexualité et conception assistée en Inde et en France”, Le Journal des Anthropologues, n°144-145

Book Chapters

Merleau-Ponty Noémie. In press. “Les Catégories Du Vivant. Ethnographie Des Affects Dans Des Laboratoires de Biologie.” In “(D)écrire Les Affects: Perspectives et Enjeux Anthropologiques”, edited by Carine Plancke et Léo Mariani, éditions Pétra

Conference Proceedings

Merleau-Ponty Noémie. 2017. « Potentiels embryonnaires. La sélection des embryons, une source d’intranquillité ? », in, Muriel Flis-Trèves et René Frydman, L’intranquillité, déni ou réalité, GyPsy XVI, Paris, PUF, pp.63-82 ; ISBN 2130786472/ EAN 9782130786474

Book Reviews

Merleau-Ponty Noémie.  2017. Book review of 'Transnational Reproduction' by Daisy Deomampo, invited by New Genetics and Society.

Merleau-Ponty Noémie. 2015. Book Review of DasGupta, Sayantani & Dasgupta, Shamita Das (eds.), “Globalization and Transnational Surrogacy in India: Outsourcing Life”, South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal [Online]

Public Outreach

2018. February.The Unexpected Children of IVF. ReproSoc blog

2017. October. « Are you related?  », ReproSoc blog.

2017, May Procreative Selections, ReproSoc blog.

2017, January, What a Show, ReproSoc blog.

2016, July, The Futur…After Brexit, ReproSoc blog.

2015, « L’OGM humain ou le rougissement de la technoscience », Les Échos