Lynn Morgan

Mary E. Woolley Professor of Anthropology

Specialization
Medical anthropology; the anthropology of gender and sexualities; reproductive governance in Latin America; Central America and the Ecuadorian Andes

In her work on feminist social studies of science, medical anthropology, and the political economy of reproductive health policy, Lynn Morgan doesn't shy away from difficult or controversial subjects.  Her newest book, Icons of Life:  A Cultural History of Human Embryos (University of California Press, 2009) tells the provocative story of an early 20th-century project to collect thousands of human embryo specimens for scientific study, and it explains how those old specimens continue to affect fetal politics and reproductive rights today.  Her coedited collection, Fetal Subjects, Feminist Positions, is a compilation of fifteen essays addressing one of the most difficult areas in current feminist thought—the meanings ascribed to human fetuses, and the history of efforts to personify and grant social identities to human embryos and fetuses.  In addition to numerous journal articles and book chapters, Morgan is author of Community Participation in Health: The Politics of Primary Care in Costa Rica (Cambridge University Press, 1993; issued also in a Spanish translation).  Her current research focuses on reproductive health policy and governance in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Mexico.

Morgan is equally challenging in the classroom, raising tough questions and shaking students out of old assumptions and complacency. "The highest compliment I ever received was when a student approached me at the end of the semester and said, 'I don't know what to believe anymore.' I hoped she would turn her distress in a positive direction, toward addressing intractable and vexing problems, such as the shocking degree of inequality we seem to tolerate and perpetuate." In 2002, Morgan won the College's Faculty Prize for Teaching and was described as a "master teacher" whose crowded classes are always standing room only—and worth it.

Morgan is a founding member and former director of the Five College Program in Culture, Health, and Science.  In spring 2009 she was Residential Academic Director for Mount Holyoke’s new study-abroad program “Global-Local Challenges to Sustainability:  The Costa Rica Experience.”  In 2009-2010, Morgan was a Weatherhead Resident Scholar at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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