Susan Greenhalgh is the John King and Wilma Cannon Fairbank Research Professor of Chinese Society at Harvard University. Before joining Harvard in 2011, she was Professor of Anthropology at the University of California at Irvine and, before that, Senior Research Associate of the Population Council in New York City. Her interests lie in the tangled intersections of science/technology, the Party-state, industry, and everyday life in contemporary China.

For some 25 years, she sought to unearth the making, workings, and effects of China’s notorious one-child policy. Her award-winning book, Just One Child: Science and Policy in Deng’s China (2008), traces its origins to Chinese missile science and Western cybernetics. Governing China’s Population: From Leninist to Neoliberal Biopolitics (with E. A. Winckler, 2005) places the Party-state’s project on population at the very center of Chinese political transformations over 50 years. Cultivating Global Citizens: Population in the Rise of China (2010) reveals the central role of population policies in the creation of the global citizens needed to make China a prosperous, globally prominent nation.

Can Science and Technology Save China? (edited with Li Zhang, 2020) is one of the first book-length studies of science and society in China. Advancing the notion of “governing through science,” it shows how the everyday logics, practices, and ethics of science- and technology-making are profoundly reshaping the country, but not in the ways intended.

Since 2013, Greenhalgh has examined the hidden dynamics by which Western food and beverage corporations have been intervening in China’s science and policy to protect profits. Her work shows how Coca-Cola succeeded in quietly distorting China’s policies on obesity to align with Coke’s message that, when it comes to obesity, what matters is how much you exercise, not what you eat or drink. Two capstone articles on this research were published in early 2019 and a book is underway.

Just One Child was awarded the Joseph Levenson Prize of the Association for Asian Studies and the Rachel Carson Prize of the Society for the Social Study of Science. Greenhalgh’s work has been recognized by a Guggenheim Fellowship, Harvard’s Walter Channing Cabot Fellowship, and the Clifford C. Clogg Award for Early Career Achievement of the Population Association of America, among others.

Last Updated: February 5, 2020



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