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Reproductive Sociology Research Group

Studying at Cambridge


Reproducing the Environment

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Katie Dow and Janelle Lamoreaux


Reproducing the Environment is a collaborative project led by Katie Dow and Janelle Lamoreaux. The project brings together scholars working on the diverse and important intersections between reproduction and the environment in many different parts of the world and in many different species. It grew out of a shared interest in how both ideas about and human effects on the environment can affect how we, and other species, reproduce. It is specifically interested in looking at how reproduction and the environment intersect, so for example how assisted reproductive technologies are being used to prevent species extinction and to improve food security, or how environmental conditions impact on the ability to conceive and care for future generations. More broadly, we are interested in exploring how ideas about reproduction and the environment express ethical and political concerns about the future, the quality of people’s lives and inequalities between and within different countries.


The project is interdisciplinary and global in scope. We are approaching the topic openly and seek to include a range of priorities and viewpoints from our fellow collaborators. We are particularly interested in taking a critical approach that incorporates intersectional feminist, queer and environmental justice perspectives and questions normative assumptions about both reproduction and the environment.


Activities for this project include a panel, which was sponsored by the Anthropology & Environment and the Medical Anthropology sections of the American Anthropological Association at their 2015 annual meeting in Denver, Colorado. A second panel on the same theme will take place at the Royal Anthropological Institute’s conference on climate change in London in May 2016. Contributions from both of these panels will feed into a workshop in Cambridge in June 2017, which has been sponsored by CRASSH. The workshop will bring these panel participants plus others together to work towards a publication. We have also been invited to make a radio programme on this theme for the Modulations series on Resonance FM with the Arts and Culture Unit, which will be broadcast in spring 2017. This will allow us to reach out to a broader audience and to share our research beyond academia.


Beyond this, we are each developing new ethnographic research projects that engage closely with the reproducing the environment theme. Janelle is planning a project researching the use of IVF and cryopreservation techniques in maintaining endangered coral populations, especially in the South China Sea. Katie is developing a project on informal seed saving, banking and swapping amongst British gardeners.