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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 cells 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 am 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.

In France, I am also starting a collaboration with a biological laboratory working on physiopathology of cardiac development. It is located in Marseille at Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM). In Paris, affiliated with the Laboratoire d’Anthropologie des Institutions et des Organisations Sociales (IIAC), I am also a member of two teams at Laboratoire d’Anthropologie Sociale (see here and here).

Key Publications

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

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]