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China Seminar 7 February 2011


CHINA SEMINAR | 07 FEBRUARI 2011| Margaret Sleeboom-Faulkner

Lineage enhancement and premarital testing among rural households in Mainland China

Speaker: Dr. Margaret Sleeboom-Faulkner (University of Sussex, UK)

Expertise: anthropology, East Asian biotechnology, nationalism


Date and time: Monday, 7 February 2011, 17.15 – 19.00h (Please note different time and venue)

Venue: LIPSIUS 130

Language: English



This presentation concerns the eugenics and fetal education propagated, described and advised in hundreds of Chinese handbooks on family planning, reproductive life, and the creation of high-quality offspring for married couples and parents to be. It queries the emphasis this discourse places on education and individual awareness, arguing that both the eugenic aspirations of the state and its focus on individual choice are misplaced when applied to rural regions. Using the example of birth-planning, this presentation employs the distinction between lineage- and stock-enhancement to clarify why the policy of premarital testing, based on population control, birth-planning and genetic awareness, cannot be understood adequately without considering the interest of individuals and family-households in their socio-cultural and economic contexts.


Speaker’s resume:
Dr. Sleeboom-Faulkner’s postdoctoral work shifted focus to the anthropology of medical and biological sciences. She set up a comparative research project on ‘Genomics in Asia’, exploring the socio-political and economic consequences of the application of the new genetic technologies in China, India and Japan. Central here is a comparison of biobanking practices, genetic testing and population policy-making. This research has led to several edited works, such as Genomics in Asia (Kegan Paul, 2004) and Biobanking in Asia (Kegan Paul, forthcoming 2008). Since joining the Anthropology Department at Sussex, Margaret’s research has been concerned with stem cell research in Asian societies. Her ESRC fellowship (2007-8) concentrates on the institutional aspects of stem cell research in China and Japan, while her research jointly conducted with anthropology departments in Cambridge and Durham emphasises the transnational movement of intellectual and material resources and International Science and Bioethical Collaborations (ISBC). Additionally, she is the Sussex University partner in Bionet, a EU sixth framework programme, which serves as a platform for twenty European and Chinese partners to discuss bioethical issues and regulation in Europe and China.




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