Projects

We are working on a general reassessment of the history of reproduction. For an interim survey, visit the online version of an exhibition we put on at Cambridge University Library in 2011:

More specific research is organized within four strands. Use the links below to explore examples of our work. For forthcoming conferences and workshops, see Events.

1. Patients and practitioners

Patients and practitioners have long sought to promote fertility—and to control or restrict it. Projects in this strand explore how people seeking and offering help have framed the generative body.

2. Reproducing generations: conception and survival

Biological, anthropological and historical research has shown the variability of human fertility and the social diversity of reproduction. This strand evaluates historically the effects on reproductive rates of the health of conception and the fetus. We are particularly interested in exposure to infection in cities with high disease loads and in social settings in which sex may have carried venereal diseases that impacted on reproduction.

3. Representation and communication

Generation and reproduction have been debated since antiquity, with much continuity in questions and huge changes in form. This strand attempts to ground in basic practices of representation and communication a history that has tended to be written in terms of disembodied ideas.

4. Twentieth-century transformations: technologies, experiences, regulation

How, and to what extent, did science transform reproduction in the twentieth century? Projects in this strand look at how new technologies were developed and how they changed the experience of reproduction. We are also studying new forms of regulation, such as for embryo research.

Research on the history of IVF