American Studies
American Studies

Anna Lyon

Doctoral Student
Anna Lyon



US cultural history, medical history, reproductive technologies, critical race studies, queer studies, materialist feminism


Originally from Seattle, Anna holds a B.A. in Gender Studies from USC (2012) and an M.A. from NYU’s Draper Program in Interdisciplinary Humanities and Social Thought (2015). Her master's work offers a materialist analysis of feminist political projects in the 1970s, focusing on projects that politicized the quotidian realities of women's lives, including consciousness-raising groups and the women's health book, Our Bodies, Ourselves.

At UT, Anna is continuing her materialist study of women in the US, focusing particularly on the medical technologies that have shaped pregnancy, childbirth, and women’s healthcare from slavery through the present day. Taking modern Assisted Reproductive Technologies, like egg donation, as an entry point, her work traces the legacies of racial and class-based stratification that have shaped women’s access to, and exploitation by, the medical world throughout America’s history.

Anna is also a full-time middle-school humanities teacher at Long-View Microschool, and tutors elementary and middle school students in writing.


AMS 311S • Sex, Science And America

31092 • Fall 2018
Meets MWF 4:00PM-5:00PM GAR 1.134
(also listed as WGS 301)

Reproduction and science have long been intertwined in America, with anxieties about national identity at the crux of these entanglements. In this course, we will trace the legacy of science, medicine, public health, and reproduction from the Antebellum to the present day, studying everything from medical experiments on enslaved women to egg donations in the 21st century. We will draw on a variety of sources, including fiction, film, histories, and primary sources from the past and present, using the topic of reproduction as an entry point for understanding America’s longstanding anxieties about the race, class, and genetic composition of the nation’s residents. By the end of the course, students will understand how the fields of science, medicine, and public health have influenced and responded to anxieties about race and class in America. They will be able to synthesize primary and secondary sources, as well as historical and contemporary sources, to make original arguments about science and medicine, and their relationship to American culture and identity. Students will also become comfortable critically analyzing nonacademic sources like “donor wanted” ads, and pairing them with scholarly sources to make historically-grounded arguments about events unfolding in today’s world. 

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