Lynn M. Morgan

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

Lynn M. Morgan is a medical anthropologist and feminist science studies scholar who works mainly in Latin America. She has authored and edited three books -- Icons of Life:  A Cultural History of Human Embryos (University of California Press, 2009), Community Participation in Health:  The Politics of Primary Care in Costa Rica (Cambridge, 1993), and Fetal Subjects, Feminist Positions (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999) – and over 30 articles.  Her awards include the 2011 Rachel Carson Prize from the Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S) for Icons of Life, and fellowships from the National Science Foundation, National Endowment for Humanities, Social Science Research Council, and the School for Advanced Research.  She is a founding member of the Five College Certificate in Culture, Health, and Science (CHS), as well as the Five College Certificate in Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice (RHRJ). She is currently writing about the backlash against reproductive rights movements in Costa Rica, Argentina, and Mexico.

Program News

  • "Spring Semester in Monteverde, Costa Rica," McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives

Selected Publications


Icons of Life: A Cultural History of Human Embryos.  University of California Press, 2009.

Fetal Subjects, Feminist Positions. Co-edited with Meredith Michaels. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999. Winner of the "Most Enduring Contribution to the Field Prize" given by the Council on Anthropology and Reproduction of the Society for Medical Anthropology, 2005.

Community Participation in Health: The Politics of Primary Care in Costa Rica. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1993. Published in Spanish as Participación Comunitaria en Salud. La Política de Atención Primaria en Costa Rica. Translated by Jeanina Umaña A. San José, Costa Rica: Editorial Nacional de Salud y Seguro Social, Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, 1997.


2019 Miss Mexico’s dress: The backlash against reproductive rights in Jalisco, Mexico. Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 24(2):536-554. DOI: 10.1111/jlca.12427.

2019 Reproductive governance, redux. Invited Editorial. Medical Anthropology 38(2):113-117.

2018 Human life is inviolable: IVF as Costa Rica’s human rights crucible. Medical Anthropology:1-15.

2018 La vida no es una sola: los usos políticos de la “vida” en Latinoamérica. Co-authored with José Manuel Morán Faúndes. Revista Culturales (Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, México) 6(1)1-35.

2017 The reproductive rights counteroffensive in Mexico and Central America. Co-authored with Gabriela Arguedas Ramírez. Feminist Studies 43(2):423-437.

2017  The Dublin Declaration on Maternal Healthcare and conservative religious activism in Latin America. Health and Human Rights 19(1):41-53.

2017   Reproductive governance meets European abortion politics: The challenge of getting the gaze right. IN A Fragmented Landscape: Abortion Governance and Protest Logics in Europe. Silvia De Zordo, Joanna Mishtal, and Lorena Anton, eds. London: Berghahn Books.

2016   Culture, health, and science: A multidisciplinary liberal arts alternative to the public health major. Co-authored with Sabina Knight and Aline C. Gubrium. International Quarterly of Community Health Education 36(2):141-146.

2015 Reproductive rights or reproductive justice? Lessons from Argentina.  Health and Human Rights 17(1):136-147.

2014 Claiming Rosa Parks:  Conservative Catholic bids for ‘rights’ in contemporary Latin America. Culture, Health and Sexuality 19(2):1-15. Reprinted in Handbook on Gender and Health. Jasmine Gideon, ed., pp. 474-487. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2016. Published in Spanish as “¿Honrar a Rosa Parks?: Intentos de los sectores católicos conservadores a favor de los ‘derechos’ en la América Latina contemporánea. Translated by Ana Victoria Soto González. Sexualidad, Salud y Sociedad: Revista Latinoamericana 17:174-197.

2013 Implementing feminist practice: A conversation with Meg Conkey.  American Anthropologist 115(4):546-554.

2013. Imagining the Unborn in the Ecuadoran Andes. Anthologized IN Contemporary Cultures, Global Connections: Anthropology for the 21st Century. Victoria Bernal, ed., pp. 9-30. San Diego: Cognella.

2013. The potentiality principle from Aristotle to abortion. Current Anthropology 54(Supplement 7). In press.

2012.  Reproductive governance in Latin America.  Co-authored with Elizabeth F. S. Roberts.  Anthropology and Medicine 19(2):1-14. 

2012.  Getting at anthropology through medical history:  Notes on the consumption of Chinese embryos and fetuses in the Western imagination.  IN Anthropology at the Intersections: Histories, Activisms, and Futures.  Marcia Inhorn and Emily Wentzell, eds., pp. 41-64.  Durham:  Duke University Press.  

2011.  Fetal bodies, undone.  IN A Companion to the Anthropology of the Body and Embodiment.  Frances E. Mascia-Lees, ed., pp. 320-337.  Malden, MA:  Wiley-Blackwell. 

2008. The embryography of Alice B. Toklas.  Comparative Studies in Society and History 50(1):304-25.

2006. The rise and demise of a collection of human fetuses at Mount Holyoke College. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 49(3):435-51.

2006. "Life begins when they steal your bicycle": Cross-cultural practices of personhood at the beginnings and ends of life. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 34(1):8-15.

2006. Strange anatomy: Gertrude Stein and the avant-garde embryo. Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy 21(1):15-34.

2005. The anthropology of the beginnings and ends of life. Co-authored with Sharon Kaufman. Annual Review of Anthropology 34:317-41.

2005. The political economy of health. IN Science, Technology, and Society: An Encyclopedia. Sal Restivo, ed. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.

2004. A social biography of Carnegie embryo no. 836. Anatomical Record (Part B, New Anatomist) 276B(1):3-7.

2003. Embryo tales. IN Remaking Life and Death: Toward an Anthropology of the Biosciences. Sarah Franklin and Margaret Lock, eds., pp. 261-91. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press.

2002. “Properly disposed of”: A history of embryo disposal and the changing claims on fetal remains. Medical Anthropology 21(3-4):247-74.

2002. Romancing the transgender native: Rethinking the use of the “third gender” concept. Co-authored with Evan B. Towle. GLQ 8(4):469-97.

Recent Campus News

Professors Holly Hanson, Christopher Pyle, Stan Rachootin and Lynn M. Morgan retire from Mount Holyoke College after extraordinary teaching careers.

Four faculty members retire

Four esteemed Mount Holyoke College faculty members are retiring in 2020.

Mount Holyoke is known across the country as a leader in global education because of Eva Paus, director of the McCulloch Center.

Students, meet World. World, students.

The McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives has changed the Mount Holyoke world — and Mount Holyoke has changed global education. 

MHC to host artist-anthropologist-activist

Gina Athena Ulysse will give a presentation exploring ways to use performance tools such as spoken word to address anthropological issues. 

Lynn Morgan standing by tree in front of building

Beyond abortion: what is reproductive justice

Reproductive politics touch everything, says Lynn Morgan, MHC anthropology professor who has studied the subject extensively in Latin America and Europe.

Lynn Morgan, Mary E. Woolley Professor of Anthropology

How should we talk about reproductive rights?

In a journal article, Mount Holyoke anthropology professor Lynn Morgan writes on how Argentine activists frame discussions about reproductive rights and justice.