Lorrin Reed Thomas
History Department
Rutgers University-Camden
429 Cooper Street #100
Camden, NJ 08102
(856) 225-2656


University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D., History, 2002 

Columbia University, B.A., History, 1993

Academic Appointments

Rutgers University-Camden, History Department

Department Chair, 2015-present

Associate Professor, 2011-present

Assistant Professor, 2004-2011

Woodrow Wilson Postdoctoral Fellow, 2002-2004



Puerto Rican Citizen: History and Political Identity in New York City (University of Chicago Press, 2010)

Rethinking the Struggle for Puerto Rican Rights, co-authored with Aldo Lauria Santiago (Routledge, 2018)

Minority: Latinos and the Making of Multiracial America After the 1960s (research in progress)

Refereed articles and book chapters

Foreign, Dark, Young, Citizen: Puerto Rican Youth Confronting Discrimination in the United States, 1935-1965,” in Maria Cristina García, Madeleine Hsu, and Maddalena Marinari, eds., A Nation of Immigrants Reconsidered: U.S. Society in an Age of Restriction, 1924-1965 (University of Illinois Press, 2018)

“Puerto Ricans in the Harlem Riot of 1935” in Persephone Braham, ed., The African Americas: The African Diaspora in the Cultures of Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States (University of Delaware Press, 2014)

“Oscar Handlin, The Newcomers: Negroes and Puerto Ricans in a Changing Metropolis,” Journal of American Ethnic History 32 (spring 2013): 46-52

“Resisting the Racial Binary? Puerto Rican Migrants’ Encounter with Race in Depression-Era New York City,” CENTRO Journal of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies 21 (spring 2009): 4-35

“Puerto Rican Migrants and the Politics of Citizenship in the New Deal Era,” in Suzanne Oboler, ed., Latinos and Ctiizenship: The Dilemma of Belonging (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006)

“‘How They Ignore Our Rights As American Citizens’: Puerto Rican Migrants and the Politics of Citizenship in the New Deal Era,” Latino Studies 1 (July 2004): 1-19

“The Invention of ‘Welfare’ in America,” co-authored with Michael B. Katz, The Journal of Policy History 10 (November 1998): 399-418

Book reviews, non-refereed articles, and encyclopedia entries

“Jack Agüeros, New Yorker Extraordinario,” in Remeseira, ed., The Jack Agüeros Reader (Columbia University Press, 2020)  

“Narrating Freedom in the Diaspora,” review of Nancy Raquel Mirabal, Suspect Freedoms: The Racial and Sexual Politics of Cubanidad in New York, 1823-1957 (New York University Press, 2017) in Cultural Dynamics 30:4 (fall 2018): 326-331

“Telling the Truth About Puerto Rico,” London School of Economics U.S. Centre Blog, October 7, 2017, http://bit.ly/2xXvqQx

“99 Years After the Jones Act: Austerity Without Representation,” OUP Blog, Oxford University Press, March 8, 2016, http://blog.oup.com/2016/03/jones-act-anniversary/

“When We Talk About Human Rights,” review essay, Humanity 6:2 (summer 2015)

“Puerto Ricans in the United States,” in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History (Oxford University Press, 2015)

Review of Lilia Fernández, Brown in the Windy City: Mexicans and Puerto Ricans in Postwar Chicago (University of Chicago Press, 2012) in Journal of Social History 48 (spring 2015): 738-40

Review of Jorge Duany, Blurred Borders: Transnational Migration between the Hispanic Caribbean and the United States (University of North Carolina Press, 2011) in Journal of American History 100:4 (2014): 1288.

Review of David Luis-Brown, Waves of Decolonization: Discourses of Race and Hemispheric Citizenship in Cuba, Mexico, and the United States (Duke University Press, 2008) in H-LatAm (March, 2013)

“Upholding the Color Line,” in New York Archives Magazine (spring 2011): 15-30

“Jesús Colón” and “Bernardo Vega,” in The Oxford Encyclopedia for Latinos and Latinas in Politics, edited by Suzanne Oboler, Jorge Capetillo, and Deena González (Oxford University Press, 2011)

Awards, Grants, and Fellowships

Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer, 2014-2017, 2017-2020 

Rutgers Mid-Career Research Award, 2018-19

Rutgers Latino Studies Research Initiative, Faculty Fellowship, 2018

Civic Engagement Faculty Fellow, Rutgers University-Camden, 2016-17

American Philosophical Society, Franklin Fellowship, 2015-16

Rutgers University Center for Latin American Studies Research Fund, summer grants, 2011, 2013

Rutgers University Research Council, summer grant, 2012

Casa de las Américas Prize, honorable mention for Puerto Rican Citizen, 2012

Puerto Rican Studies Association Book Prize, honorable mention for Puerto Rican Citizen, 2012

Saloutos Prize, Immigration and Ethnic History Society, Organization of American Historians, for Puerto Rican Citizen, 2011

Woodrow Wilson Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2002-2004

Invited Lectures, Panel Presentations, and Roundtables (selected, recent)

“Fifty Years of Puerto Rican Renewal in the South Bronx,” roundtable on “Lamento Borincano: Geographies of Catastrophe: 1968-2018,” Princeton Program in Latin American Studies, Princeton University, April 5, 2018

“Crisis and Reconstruction in Puerto Rico Before and After Hurricane Maria,” panel discussion, Latino Studies Research Initiative, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, Dec. 7, 2017

“Telling the Truth About Puerto Rico,” keynote, Latino and Puerto Rican Studies Program, Central Connecticut State University, Nov. 8, 2017

“Marginalized Histories of New York City,” panel on New York Crystal Palace 1853, Bard Graduate Center, New York City, May 11, 2017

“Minority: Latinas/os and the Making of Multiracial America after the 1960s,” lecture, Latino/a Studies in the Global South, Duke University, April 6, 2017

“Puerto Rican Civil Rights: Dispersion and Momentum since 1980,” presentation, Puerto Ricans in U.S. History conference, Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, New York City, May 26, 2016

“Foreign, Dark, Young, Citizen: Puerto Rican Youth Confronting Discrimination in the United States, 1935-1965,” presentation, A Nation of Immigrants Reconsidered conference, University of Texas, Austin, March 4-5, 2016

“One Hundred Years of the Jones Act and Puerto Rican U.S. Citizenship,” panel presentation, Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, October 16, 2015

“The Language of Human Rights in Mexico, 1960-1980,” Annenberg lecture, University of Pennsylvania, January 20, 2015

“Puerto Rico: The 51st State?” public lecture, East Brunswick Public Library, East Brunswick, NJ, October 9, 2014

“The University and the Streets: the Roots of Puerto Rican Studies in New York City,” presentation, Puerto Ricans in U.S. History conference, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, May 17, 2014

“Puerto Rican Citizen,” public lecture, Hampshire College and the Five Colleges, March 31, 2014

“Puerto Rican Citizen,” presentation, Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, Columbia University, February 20, 2014

Remarks on Sonia Sotomayor, My Beloved World, panel, Rendell Center for Civics and Citizenship, Arcadia University, October 9, 2013

“The University and the Streets,” lecture, Center for Mexican American Studies, University of Texas, Austin, October 7, 2013

“From Marine Tiger to Nuyorican,” panel, El Museo del Barrio, New York City, September 25, 2013

“Place and Hogar: Ramifications in the Face of Demographic Flux,” panel, Taller Puertorriqueño, Philadelphia, May 4, 2013

“Puerto Rican History is Political History,” keynote, CENTRO Journal anniversary event, Lehman College, April 25, 2012

“Citizenship, Recognition, and Making Historical Sense of Ideas,” keynote, Rutgers-Newark/NJIT Student Conference, March 28, 2012                                                                                                                      

“Utopia Disarmed? Human Rights Politics in Mexico in the 1970s,” presentation, Columbia University Human Rights Seminar, March 5, 2012

Professional and Public Service (selected)

Editorial Board, CENTRO Journal of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, 2018-present

Series Co-Editor, with Carlos Blanton and Luis Álvarez, Historia USA, The University of Texas Press, 2017-present

Consulting Scholar, “Under One Roof” exhibit, Lower East Side Tenement Museum, 2016-17

Expert Witness, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Transnational Legal Clinic, 2015-16

Fellowship Award Evaluation Committee, Ford Foundation Fellowship Program, 2019, 2020; NEH Awards for Faculty, 2013, 2016

Project Scholar, Latino Americans History Project, Camden County Public Library, Camden, NJ, 2015

Program Committee, Immigration and Ethnic History Society, OAH, 2012-14

Advisory Board, Puerto Rican Diaspora Project, Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, 2012-14

Fellowship Award Committee, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 2006-2013

Consultant, “The Latino Americans,” PBS documentary film series, 2012

Referee and manuscript reviewer for:

University of Pennsylvania Press, Harvard University Press, University of California Press, University of Texas Press, University of North Carolina Press, University of Chicago Press, CENTRO Journal, Journal of American History, Pacific Historical Review, Radical History Review, Journal of American Ethnic History, American Quarterly, Latino Studies, Identities, Caribbean Studies, Wadabagai


American Historical Association

Latin American Studies Association

Organization of American History

Puerto Rican Studies Association