Deborah Thomas Honored for Her Work to End Gender Bias in Anthropology

Deborah A. Thomas, the R. Jean Brownlee Term Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, has been named the recipient of the 2020 Gender Equity Award from the American Anthropological Association. In addition to honoring scholars who work against discrimination against women in anthropology, this award celebrates feminist scholars working to raise awareness of discrimination in anthropology on the grounds of gender presentation of any kind.

Professor Thomas, an educator, author, filmmaker, and artist, also holds appointments in the department of Africana studies, the Graduate School of Education, and the School of Social Policy and Practice. She is a core faculty member of the Alice Paul Center for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality. Her research interests include transnationalism and diaspora, race and gender, performance and popular culture, and culture and political economy.

Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania in 2006, Dr. Thomas spent two years as a Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Center for the Americas at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, and four years teaching in the department of cultural anthropology at Duke University in North Carolina. She is the author of several books including Political Life in the Wake of the Plantation: Sovereignty, Witnessing, Repair (Duke University Press, 2019).

Dr. Thomas is a graduate of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. She holds a master’s degree from the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and a Ph.D. in anthropology from New York University.

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