Susan Thomas is Assistant Professor of Cultural Foundations of Education. Trained as an educational anthropologist, her work exists at the intersection of international education, migration studies, and critical university studies, with a particular emphasis on South Asia and South Asian diasporas.
Thomas pursues lines of inquiry that deploy transnational, comparative, and transdisciplinary approaches. Building on her scholarly interest in the fraught inclusion politics of university life as it becomes transformed by neoliberalization, Thomas’ first book project, Indebted Mobilities, interrogates the racialized, gendered, and classed practices underlying the encounters between the Indian student-migrant figure and the internationalizing university. Contending that indebtedness and US exceptionality are central logics in the configuration of the global educational landscape, this critical ethnography examines how such logics mark the migratory lives of Indian middle-class youth. Indebted Mobilities is under contract to be published with the University of Chicago Press.
A second interrelated line of inquiry broadly concerns geographies of violence and the possibilities for solidarity and collective resistance that emerge from them. Specifically, Thomas is working on a 3-piece essay series that explores comparatively race and caste politics in the context of education. The first of these essays was published in the peer-reviewed journal, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education. Related to this broader area of interest, she is also co-editing a volume entitled Genealogies of Anti-Asian/Asia Violences, which emerged out of a symposium she co-organized in Spring 2022. The volume is currently under consideration with Fordham University Press.
Thomas is also a Senior Research Associate with the SU South Asia Center and she is currently the Co-Chair of the Global Migration Special Interest Group for the Comparative and International Education Society.
Susan Thomas' research and teaching interests include international education, transnational migration, South Asia/South Asian diaspora, debt, precarity, race and caste politics, student resistance, violence, and ethnographic inquiry
Recent Publications and Talks
Articles and Chapters
Invited Talks and Presentations