Doctoral Student Risa Cromer (Cultural Anthropology) Receives Newcombe Fellowship

Doctoral student Risa Cromer (Cultural Anthropology) has been awarded a Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, which provides $25,000 in funding for a year of full-time dissertation writing.
Cromer’s dissertation, “Saved: Science, Religion, and the Frozen Embryo Problem in the United States,” takes an ethnographic look at efforts to repurpose frozen human embryos that are leftover from in vitro fertilization procedures in the United States.

“Stem cell researchers and infertile Christian adopters often regard leftover embryos in different ways — as promising research material versus potential children,” Cromer says. “Yet each share an orientation to saving ‘life’ and redeeming value from America’s unwanted but ‘un-wastable’ reproductive remainders.”

Cromer began exploring the topic out of a longstanding interest in reproductive politics and in the ways IVF embryos are “pressed into service” for diverse political agendas.

“Frozen embryos have become subjects of debates about ‘personhood’, figures in legal battles, and materials through which dreams of regenerative medicine and personalized therapies are gambled,” she says. “Ethnography provides a method for approaching this topic in ways that suspend my own presumptions about often polarizing politics to reveal greater complexities and unexpected common ground about American efforts to save.” 

Submitted on: APR 21, 2015

Category: Anthropology | General GC News | Student News