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Current Postgraduate Research Students

Celia Roberts supervises 6 postgraduate research students. Some of the students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

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Dr Celia Roberts

Senior Lecturer

Celia Roberts

Bowland North

Lancaster University


Lancaster LA1 4YN

United Kingdom

Tel: +44 1524 592205


PhD supervision

I am interested in a number of research areas, mostly focusing on issues relating to health, embodiment, sexuality, reproduction and biology.
I have co-supervised 7 PhD students to completion to date and all have passed with no or minor amendments:
- Lin Wen-Yuan (2005) who worked on kidney dialysis in Taiwan;
- Kaori Sasaki (2006) who worked on brain death and organ transplantation in Japan;
- Ranjini C.R. (2006) who worked on health information systems in southern India
- Anne Rudolph (2009) whose thesis focussed on young lesbian, bi-sexual and queer women's understandings of sexually transmitted infections;
- Clare Hollowell (2010) who studied young women's experiences of fun; and
-Shih, Li-Wen (2012) whose research focussed on prenatal testing and screening in Taiwan.
-Brigit Morris-Colton (2014) who studied an arts for mental health service, focussing on the concept of recovery.

I have sixcurrent phD students and two starting in September 2014
1. Rebecca Fox, who is working on women with learning disabilities living in secure accomodation (ESRC-funded)
2. Kate McNicolas-Smith, who is working on lesbians on television (ESRC-funded)
3. Alison Hanbury, studying the HPV vaccine in the UK, as part of the Prescriptive Prescriptions (ERC) project
4. Oscar Maldonado,researching the HPV vaccine in Colombia (funded by Colombian goverment)
5. Joann Wilkinson, studying reproductive biosensors as part of the 'Making sense of biosensors' project, funded by Intel
6. Lucy Ryan, studying adoptors' views and exeriences of parenting (self-funded)
7. Cron Cronshaw, who will be working on young trans people's autobiographies (ESRC funded)
8. Fay Wright, who will be researching telecare for older people, building on our EFFORT project on telecare (ESRC funded)

All of these are empirical research projects, using methods such as participant observation, interviewing, focus groups and textual analysis.

I am deeply interested in feminist and social theory and am an editor of a leading feminist journal, Feminist Theory. I am very keen to work with postgraduate students on these themes relating to feminist theory, embodiment and sexuality, either in Sociology or Women's Studies. Prospective students should feel free to contact me by email to discuss the possibility of studying at Lancaster.

Current Teaching

Teaching and Departmental Roles

I am curently the Co-Director, with Imogen Tyler of the Centre for Gender and Women's Studies and also, with Imogen again, Joint Doctoral Director in the Department of Sociology.

In 2013-13 I am teaching an MA course, 'Gender, Sex and Bodies' which is a core course for our Women's Studies Programme, as well as co-teaching our annual MA course and summer school on Feminist Technoscience Studies (this year's theme 'Boud Boundaries'). I also deliver four lectures on the Part One Gender and Women's Studies course and supervise undergraduate dissertations as part of our 3rd year dissertation course.

Research Interests

My research centres on the body, health, reproduction, sexuality and aging. I am currently writing a book on early onset puberty, entitled 'Puberty in Crisis: a bio-psycho-social account', forthcoming with Cambridge University Press. This book brings together feminist science studies, feminist theories of the body, sexuality and girlhood studies to explore the current global 'crisis' in sexual development. As listed below, I have several publications in this area.


This work builds on my earlier book, Messengers of Sex: hormones, biomedicine and feminism (Cambridge University Press, 2007), which explores the role of hormones in producing sexually differentiated bodies (http://www.cambridge.org/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9780521681971). In it, I critically analyse scientific and biomedical texts, pharmaceutical advertisements, patient leaflets, and popular media accounts of sex hormones and how they work in our bodies. I have published several articles on this area (see below), with a particular focus on hormone replacement therapy. I am interested in questions of responsibility and risk in contemporary biomedicine, and in how patients come to make decisions about engaging with new medical technologies.

I am also the co-author (with Sarah Franklin) of a book on genetics and reproduction, entitled Born and Made: An ethnography of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (Princeton University Press, 2006) (http://press.princeton.edu/titles/8313.html). This work is based on three years of ethnographic research of the so-called 'designer baby technique' (preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD). This research was funded by the ESRC and MRC within the Innovative Health Technologies programme. With Franklin and Karen Throsby (Warwick University), I have also studied the donation of embryos to stem cell research within the PGD clinic (funded by the Wellcome Trust and CESAGen). Karen Throsby and I are continuing this work in genetics together, and are currently working on issues relating to puberty and obesity and genetics.

My interest in new biomedical technologies has led to collaboration with colleagues in the Division of Health Research and the Centre for Science Studies. I have participated in 4 projects funded by the EU, two of which are ongoing. In chronological order these are:

1) A Thematic Network entitled 'Identifying Trends in European Medical Space' (ITEMS), which provides opportunities for scholars and students working on health and medical from social science and humanities' perspectives to come together at meetings and conferences and to develop international projects (see http://www.csi.ensmp.fr/WebCSI/ITEMS/index.htm);

2) A Specific Support Action called 'Governance, health, and medicine: Opening dialogue between social scientists and users' (MEDUSE), which focussed on three areas of research, including the use of new technologies to care for older people living at home (see http://www.csi.ensmp.fr/WebCSI/MEDUSE/);

3) A collaborative research project led by Lancaster, with partners in The Netherlands, Norway and Spain, entitled 'Ethical Frameworks for Telecare Technologies' (EFORTT) (see http://www.lancs.ac.uk/efortt/). This project, led by our group at Lancaster, is focussing on older people living at home, and looking at the development of new care technologies to assist them in this. In essence, we are investigating what 'care' for older people means today. This project involves ethnographic research and citizens' panels;

4) A collaborative research project led by colleagues at the Ecole des Mines, Paris, with partners in Ireland, the UK and Portugal entitled 'European Patient Organisations in Knowledge Society' (EPOKS) (See http://www.csi.ensmp.fr/WebCSI/EPOKSWebSite/).This project is investigating patient organisations across a range of health conditions. In the Lancaster part of the project, Imogen Tyler, Candice Satchwelland I are looking at British birth organisations and their impact on women's health. This is an ethnographic project.

In the past, I have also worked on research projects on breast cancer, HIV/AIDS and heterosexuality, and gender equity in public institutions.

Finally, I am a co-editor of Feminist Theory and recently co-edited, with Myra Hird, a special issue of Feminist Theory on 'non-human feminisms'.


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