Professor of Anthropology, Social Anthropology Program
William James Hall 310
33 Kirkland Street
Cambridge MA 02138
(617) 495-7826 | greenhalgh [at] fas.harvard.edu
Research and Teaching Interests
• Social Studies of Science, Technology, and Medicine
• The Politics of Reproduction/Population/Life Itself
• Gender Studies; Modernity and Globalization
• Anthropology of the State, Governance, and Public Policy
• Socialism and Post-Socialism
• People's Republic of China, Taiwan, Selected interests in U.S. society
The central concern of Professor Greenhalgh’s recent work has been to understand Chinese projects of modernity/globality – state efforts to transform China’s “backward masses” into the modern workers and citizens needed to make China a prosperous, globally prominent nation – and their effects on China’s society, culture, politics, and global standing. Her empirical focus has been the state’s project to optimize the size and “quality” of China’s population by limiting all couples to one child. Aside from the basic policy of economic reform and opening up, no policy has been more consequential to reform-era China than the one-child policy.
Her interests in the social dimensions of China’s global rise are reflected in three recent books. Just One Child: Science and Policy in Deng’s China (California, 2008) uncovers the origins of the notorious one-child policy in early reform-era population science and politics. Governing China’s Population: From Leninist to Neoliberal Biopoltics (Stanford, 2005, co-authored with political scientist Edwin A. Winckler) examines how China has governed its population during the 50-plus years since the Communist revolution of 1949, and with what effects on Chinese society, politics, and global position. Cultivating Global Citizens: Population in the Rise of China (Harvard, 2010) traces the connections between the state’s massive project to govern its population and cultivate its society, and the nation’s rise to global power.
More generally, Greenhalgh is interested in what transpires along the border between science and politics. Her current projects explore the bioscience and biopolitics of the “obesity epidemic” in the U.S., and the emergence of a new form of thin, fit bio-citizen; and the rise of a new field of scientific governance in China aimed at managing the male-heavy sex ratio that has arisen under the one-child policy.
Greenhalgh’s work has been recognized by numerous awards and grants....
Before joining Harvard’s Anthropology Department, Greenhalgh was a Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine and a Senior Research Associate of the New York-based Population Council.