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, tentatively titled Minority: Latinas/os and the Making of Multiracial America after the 1960s, examines Latinas/os’ political engagement across many regions of the United States and their negotiation of new paths to social and political equality during the 1970s and 1980s.
Professor Thomas teaches a range of subjects in Latin American history and the history of the Americas, including courses on the Caribbean, modern Mexico, U.S. and Latin American relations, race and ethnicity in the Americas, and a historical methods course on Guatemala in the Cold War. She is also chair of the History Department at Rutgers-Camden.