American Studies
American Studies

Anna Lyon

Doctoral Student
Anna Lyon



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


Originally from Seattle, Anna holds a B.A. in Gender Studies from the University of Southern California (2012) and an M.A. from NYU’s Draper Program in Interdisciplinary Humanities and Social Thought (2015). Her master’s work considered the impacts and shortcomings of the 1970s women’s health text, Our Bodies, Ourselves.

At UT, Anna continues to investigate the flow of power in medical and embodied encounters, specifically focusing on the experiences of anonymous egg donors in the United States. A five-time egg donor herself, she brings both personal experience and research-based perspectives to this topic. Her dissertation uses a historical lens to contextualize the contemporary fertility industry, considering how egg donation expands reproductive possibilities for queer people, single people, and those struggling to conceive, while extending patterns of inequity that have long plagued reproductive care in the United States. Considering the tensions between quickly-evolving genetic technologies and slow-moving legal processes, her project asks, "What would reproductive justice look like in the context of egg donation: during the matching process, the donation cycle, and beyond?"

Anna also writes fiction for teens and teaches English at Trinity Episcopal School. Additionally, she serves on the young adult selection committee for the Texas Book Festival and runs @QueerBookLife on instagram, where she blogs about LGBTQ+ literature for young readers. 


AMS 311S • Sex, Science And America

31092 • Fall 2018
Meets MWF 4:00PM-5:00PM GAR 1.134
Wr (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. 

Profile Pages