Vanessa E. Thompson

Vanessa Thompson

Assistant Professor Distinguished Professor in Black Studies and Social Justice

Black Studies; Graduate Program in Gender Studies

Chair of Partnerships and Organizing

Dr. phil. (Sociology), Goethe-University Frankfurt, Germany
Magister Artium (Philosophy), Goethe-University Frankfurt, Germany

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Research interests
Black studies (especially black transnational feminisms and black social movements), anti-colonial theories and methodologies, critical racism, migration and border studies, anti-racism, racial capitalism and state violence (especially policing), abolition and social justice, multi-racial and transnational/global solidarities, activist feminist ethnographies

I am an interdisciplinary social scientist and my scholarship and teaching explores the relation between state violence, racial capitalism, politics of (un-) breathing, black transnational resistances and abolitionist feminist worldmaking. Grounded in traditions of activist scholarship, anti-colonial theories and black feminist methodologies, my work engages with black social movements in and beyond Europe, transnational connections and relations as well as the many forms of alternatives developed and rehearsed by activist collectives and movements. I collaborate with black and anti-racist movements in Europe as well as globally, that are engaged in abolitionist struggles and transformations.  

Based on activist ethnographic research with black social movements in Paris, my first monograph 'Black Socialities. Urban resistance and the struggle beyond recognition in Paris' (forthcoming with Manchester University Press) explores how black urban activist movements challenge French Republican state racism, build local as well as transnational solidarities and abolitionist infrastructures. My second major research project is entitled Abolition Worlds and focuses on transnational and transatlantic abolitionist practices and imaginaries in the black diaspora. 

Beyond the academy, my work also appears on podcasts and public media discussing policing, anti-racism and abolition. I further collaborate with performers and artists on these topics. 

I remain active in transatlantic abolitionist feminist mobilizations, policy and independent committee work on deaths through policing and state violence. 

I have joined Queen’s Department of Gender Studies and the Black Studies program in Winter 2022. Prior to coming to Queen’s, I have worked as a lecturer at Goethe-University and European University Viadrina in Germany, have been fellow at UC Santa Barbara and a Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley. I have studied at Goethe-University, Germany, and at Université Lumière Lyon 2, France. 

Student Supervision:
I am happy to receive inquiries about supervision within areas of my research interests and expertise. I am particularly interested in supporting and working with first-generation students as well as students from multi-marginalized groups.  

Selected Publications:
I have published on black social movements in France and Europe more broadly, Fanonian thought, struggles against policing as a method of racial capitalism, the politics of breathing, black and multi-racial abolitionist struggles, politics and world-making, reproductive justice and black feminisms in Europe. I have been fortunate to collaborate with amazing scholars and activists throughout the past years and have co-edited several special issues and anthologies in the fields of black feminisms, reproductive justice and abolition. I am further a member of the editorial collective kitchen politics. 
You can find a full list of publications in my CV.