Lorrin Thomas’s research explores ideas about rights and equality in the twentieth century Americas. Her first book, Puerto Rican Citizen: History and Political Identity in Twentieth Century New York City (University of Chicago Press, 2010; winner, Saloutos prize of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society of the OAH and honorable mention, Casa de las Américas prize), traces the complex meanings of citizenship for Puerto Ricans in the United States. Her recent book, Rethinking the Struggle for Puerto Rican Rights (Routledge, 2018), written with Aldo Lauria Santiago, surveys Puerto Ricans’ civil rights activism in the U.S. since the 1940s. Professor Thomas’s new book project, Minority: Latinos and the Making of Multiracial America after the 1960s, examines the ways Latinx political actors tested, implemented, and expanded the legal and policy changes of the civil rights era, negotiating new paths to social and political equality in the United States.
Professor Thomas teaches courses on Latin American and Caribbean history and the history of the Americas, including courses on U.S. and Latin American relations and on race and ethnicity in the Americas, as well as a historical methods course on Guatemala in the Cold War. She is also chair of the History Department at Rutgers University – Camden.