Meeting PPI board member: Heather Ann Thompson
by Leah Sakala, November 21, 2013
Heather Ann Thompson is an associate professor of history in the Department of African-American Studies and the Department of History at Temple University. She is currently writing the first comprehensive history of the Attica Prison Rebellion of 1971, and also writes regularly on the current crisis of incarceration. She joined the PPI board in 2012.
What research projects are you currently working on?
Heather Ann Thompson: I am completing a history of the Attica Prison uprising of 1971 for Pantheon books. I’m also continuing to write contemporary pieces on the current incarceration crisis and the history of how we got here.
How have you used the PPI Research Clearinghouse in your scholarship?
HT: PPI’s Research Clearinghouse has been invaluable to the talks that I have been giving around the nation as well as in other countries on the carceral crisis. When I speak of the ways in which incarceration impacts communities in various states, for example, I rely on the important research PPI provides in that regard. I also cite PPI research regularly in the contemporary pieces that I write on this issue. My latest piece in the Atlantic depended on the important work PPI has done on prison gerrymandering.
How can other academics and advocates benefit from the Research Clearinghouse as well?
HT: For academics who seek to remain abreast of the most important research out on the carceral state and the criminal justice system, there is no site better for them to check regularly than the PPI site. Not only will they find an endless supply of articles and reports that will help their own scholarship to be better informed and completely up to date, but they will also find original research done by PPI staffers that is invaluable to them.