Bentley Hall with Annex

Faculty & Staff Profile 

Debra Thompson 
Asst. Professor

213 Bentley Annex

Debra Thompson is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Ohio University. She received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Toronto (2010) and was a SSHRC Post-Doctoral Fellow with the Department of Government and Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University in 2010-2011. Her research and teaching interests are in the area of race and ethnic politics, comparative politics and public policy, including: the politics of race; race and public policy; diaspora and transnational studies; race and American/comparative political development; comparative public policy; immigration and citizenship; and critical race theory.

Dr. Thompson is currently preparing a book manuscript, to be reviewed by Cambridge University Press. The Schematic State: Race, Transnationalism, and the Politics of the Census is a comparative study of how and why the United States, Great Britain and Canada developed racial classifications on their national censuses, telling a story of the ways that politics construct the very concept of race. The Schematic State explores similarities and differences over time and space, tracing the transnational ideas and state-level institutions that have influenced the census, changing it from an instrument historically used to manage and control racial populations to its contemporary purpose as an important source of statistical information, employed for egalitarian ends. Thompson is also working on a comparative project that examines other race-making practices of the state that, like the census, can be classified as tedious exercises of state administration, but which nonetheless hold enormous consequences for how race has been constructed and racial groups categorized.

Dr. Thompson's work has appeared in journals such as Ethnic and Racial Studies, the Canadian Journal of Political Science, and Social and Legal Studies. Her 2008 article, "Is Race Political?" won the John McMenemy Prize for the best article published in English or French in the Canadian Journal of Political Science, and she was recently award the 2011 Governor General of Canada's Academic Gold Medal.