Shannon Withycombe

Photo: Shannon Withycombe

Associate Professor
Director of Graduate Studies

Phone: 505-277-0172
Office: Mesa Vista 2062


Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2010
M.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2005
B.A., Mount Holyoke College, 1998

Research Interests:

History of Medicine , Gender and Sexuality, History of the Body, History of Reproduction, History of Women's Health, U.S. Public Health


Shannon Withycombe is a historian of medicine who works on reproductive justice, sex, and race. Her courses both examine this history of reproduction, gender, and medicine as well as look at the history of contagious diseases and mental illness. She published her first book, Lost: Miscarriage in Nineteenth-Century America, in 2018 with Rutgers University Press. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Women’s History, the Social History of Medicine, The Washington Post, and Nursing Clio. Withycombe's current project examines the development of prenatal health care in the early twentieth century in the U.S. and how this work was shaped by eugenics, racist biology, and medical misogyny.

Recent/Select Publications:

Dobbs may exacerbate our racially disparate infant mortality rates,Washington Post, August 18, 2022

“How Science is Made: Nineteenth-Century Embryological and Fetal Interpretations,” in Abortion Care as Moral Work: Ethical Considerations of Maternal and Fetal Bodies, Johanna Schoen ed. (Rutgers University Press, 2022)

“‘Discharged Well’: or, How I Learned to Feel in the Archive,” Nursing Clio, May 31, 2022

Lost: Miscarriage in Nineteenth-Century America (Rutgers University Press, 2018)

“Unusual Frontal Developments: Negotiating the Pregnant Body in Nineteenth-Century America,” Journal of Women’s History 27, no. 4 (Winter 2015)

Happy Miscarriages: An Emotional History of Pregnancy Loss,” Nursing Clio, November, 2015

“From Women’s Expectations to Scientific Specimens: The Fate of Miscarriage Materials in Nineteenth-Century America,” Social History of Medicine 28, no. 2 (2015)


Guest Speaker Opportunities: Brigham Young University, University of Wisconsin, Texas Tech University, the UNM Health Sciences Center, and international virtual forums regarding new research exploring the development of prenatal care in the early 20th century, and the racist infant mortality studies that informed early prenatal work. (2021-Current).


  • Women and Health in US History
  • History of Reproduction 
  • History of Modern Medicine 
  • Health and Disease in the Southwest
  • United States of Germs
  • Medicine and Popular Culture
  • Madness in America
  • Graduate Seminar: History of Sex and Sexuality