The Routledge Handbook of Anthropology and Reproduction  book cover
1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Anthropology and Reproduction

ISBN 9780367278366
Published November 10, 2021 by Routledge
676 Pages 36 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The Routledge Handbook of Anthropology and Reproduction is a comprehensive overview of the topics, approaches, and trajectories in the anthropological study of human reproduction. The book brings together work from across the discipline of anthropology, with contributions by established and emerging scholars in archaeological, biological, linguistic, and sociocultural anthropology. Across these areas of research, consideration is given to the contexts, conditions, and contingencies that mark and shape the experiences of reproduction as always gendered, classed, and racialized. Over 39 chapters, a diverse range of international scholars cover topics including:

  • Reproductive governance, stratification, justice, and freedom.
  • Fertility and infertility.
  • Technologies and imaginations.
  • Queering reproduction.
  • Pregnancy, childbirth, and reproductive loss.
  • Postpartum and infant care.
  • Care, kinship, and alloparenting.

This is a valuable reference for scholars and upper-level students in anthropology and related disciplines associated with reproduction, including sociology, gender studies, science and technology studies, human development and family studies, global health, public health, medicine, medical humanities, and midwifery and nursing.

Table of Contents


Sallie Han and Cecília Tomori

Part I Opening conversations in reproduction

1. Conceiving Reproduction in Biological Anthropology

Karen L. Kramer, Amanda Veile and Paula Ivey Henry

2. Developmental Origins of Health and Disease: Evidence, Proposed Mechanisms, and Ideas for Future Applications

Zaneta Thayer and Theresa Gildner

3. Men and Reproduction: Perspectives from Biological Anthropology

Peter B. Gray, Alex Straftis and Kermyt G. Anderson

4. Conceiving of Reproduction in Archaeology

April Nowell, Lisa M. Mitchell and Helen Kurki

Part II Governance, stratification, justice, and freedom

5. Reproduction and the State

Carole H. Browner and Carolyn F. Sargent

6. The Necropolitics of Reproduction: Racism, Resistance, and the Sojourner Syndrome in the Age of the Movement for Black Lives

Leith Mullings

7. Reproductive Governance in Practice: A Comparison of State-Provided Reproductive Health Care in Cuba and the United States

Elise Andaya

8. Reproduction through Revolution: Maoist Women’s Struggle for Equity in Post-Development Nepal

Jan Brunson

9. Policy, Governance, Practice: Global Perspectives on Abortion

Joanna Mishtal and Silvia De Zordo

10. Sterile Choices: Racialized Women, Reproductive Freedom, and Social Justice

Iris López

Part III Making fertility 


11. Menstruation: Causes, Consequences, and Context

Mary P. Rogers-LaVanne and Kathryn B. H. Clancy

12. Menstruation: Sociocultural Perspectives

Elisha P. Renne


13. Infertility, In Vitro Fertilization, and Fertility Preservation: Global Perspectives

Marcia C. Inhorn

14. Global IVF and Local Practices: The Case of Ghana

Trudie Gerrits  

15. Eggs

Daisy Deomampo

16. Surrogacy

Andrea Whittaker

Part IV Queering reproduction

17. The Racial Contours of Queer Reproduction

France Winddance Twine and Marcin Smietana

18. Invisible Hands: The Reproductivities of Queer(ing) and Race(ing) Gynecology

Nessette Falu

Part V Made and unmade: Personhood and reproduction

19. "Personhood" in the Anthropology of Reproduction

Linda Layne

20. Prenatal Screening and Diagnosis

Nete Schwennesen and Tine M. Gammeltoft

21. Navigating Reproductive Losses

Erica van der Sijpt

22. Reproduction in the Past: A Bioarchaeological Exploration of the Fetus and Its Significance

Amy B. Scott and Tracy K. Betsinger 

Part VI Pregnancy

23. Pregnancy and the Anthropology of Reproduction

Elly Teman and Tsipy Ivry

24. Bringing Language into the Anthropology of Reproduction: The Text and Talk of Pregnancy

Sallie Han

25. From Couvade to "Men’s Involvement": Sociocultural Perspectives of Expectant Fatherhood

Richard Powis

Part VII Birth

26. The Obstetrical Dilemma Revisited--Revisited

Karen R. Rosenberg and Wenda R. Trevathan

27. There Is No Evolutionary "Obstetrical Dilemma"

Holly Dunsworth

28. Midwifery in Cross-Cultural Perspectives

Mounia El Kotni

29. Doulas: Negotiating Boundaries in Birth

Julie Johnson Searcy and Angela N. Casteñeda

30. Rituals and Rites of Childbirth across Cultures

Melissa Cheyney and Robbie Davis-Floyd

31. Making Dignified Care the Norm: Examining Obstetric Violence and Reproductive Justice in Kenya

Jackline Oluoch-Aridi, Vania Smith-Oka, Jessica Dailey and Ellyn Milan

32. Maternal Mortality

Adrienne Strong

Part VIII Postpartum and infant care

33. Making Space for Lactation in the Anthropology of Reproduction

Cecília Tomori, EA Quinn and Aunchalee E.L. Palmquist

34. The Bioarchaeology of Infant Feeding

Siân E. Halcrow, Melanie J. Miller, Kate Pechenkina, Yu Dong and Wenquan Fan 

35. Biocultural Perspectives on Infant Sleep

Alanna E.F. Rudzik, Cecília Tomori, James J. McKenna and Helen L. Ball

Part IX Care as reproducing kinship

36. Menopause

Lynnette Leidy Sievert and Subho Roy

37. The Shifting Role of Grandmothers in Global Reproduction Strategies

Ellen Block

38. Alloparenting: Evolutionary Origins and Contemporary Significance of Cooperative Childrearing as a Key Feature of Human Reproduction

Kristen N. Herlosky and Alyssa N. Crittenden

39. Adoption and Fostering

Jessaca Leinaweaver and Diana Marre


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Sallie Han is Professor of Anthropology at SUNY Oneonta, USA. She is the author of Pregnancy in Practice: Expectation and Experience in the Contemporary US (2013) and co-editor of The Anthropology of the Fetus: Biology, Culture, and Society (2018).

Cecília Tomori is Associate Professor and Director of Global Public Health and Community Health at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, USA. She is the author of Nighttime Breastfeeding: An American Cultural Dilemma (2014) and co-editor of Breastfeeding: New Anthropological Approaches (2018).


"This book expertly guides us through the intricacies of reproduction as a complex entanglement of biocultural, biographical and historically situated practices, in which relationships of unequal power and violence, as well as care and kinship are forged. The editors have showcased the astonishing breadth of topics that are centred on reproduction, from socio-cultural, evolutionary, linguistic, political, medical, technological and intersectional perspectives. The book will appeal to students and scholars at all levels with an interest in reproduction and I highly recommend it – even established experts will encounter new knowledge and will be inspired to broaden their thinking about reproduction beyond the confines of their own disciplinary imperatives and experiences. The book also has much to offer those who work to set policy and practices which relate, directly and indirectly, to reproduction. If clinicians, legislators, as well as those who determine public health policy, were to engage with the evidence and arguments so cogently presented in this book then perhaps the subject of reproduction could take its rightful place at the core of our everyday values, practices, and human rights." - Rebecca Gowland in Childhood in the Past