Heather Ann Thompson

Heather Ann Thompson

Heather Ann Thompson, who teaches at the University of Michigan, has written numerous popular as well as scholarly articles on the history of mass incarceration as well as its current impact. These include pieces for the New York Times, the Atlantic, Salon, Dissent, New Labor Forum, and the Huffington Post, as well as the award-winning historical articles "Why Mass Incarceration Matters: Rethinking Crisis, Decline, and Transformation in Postwar American History" and "Rethinking Working Class Struggle through the Lens of the Carceral State: Toward a Labor History of Inmates and Guards." Thompson recently served on a National Academy of Sciences blue-ribbon panel that studied the causes and consequences of mass incarceration in the United States. She is the author of Whose Detroit: Politics, Labor and Race in a Modern American City (2001) and Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy (2016), winner of the Bancroft and Pulitzer Prizes. She is also editor of Speaking Out: Protest and Activism in the 1960s and 1970s (2009). Thompson has consulted on several documentary films, including "Criminal Injustice at Attica," and she regularly speaks to radio and print journalists about issues related to policing, civil rights, urban crisis, and prisons.

Click here for more information about Heather Ann Thompson.

Twitter: @hthompsn.


  • Blood in the Water: The Attica Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy
  • Civil Rights in the Age of Trump *
  • Criminal Justice Reform in the Age of Trump *
  • History of the Black Power Movement
  • How Incarceration Distorts Democracy in America
  • Policing in the Age of Trump *
  • Politics, Labor, and the Carceral State
  • Why Mass Incarceration Matters

Lectures marked with a * are offered as part of the OAH's initiative, Historians' Perspectives on the Rise of Donald Trump.

Process: A Blog for American History

Historians and the Carceral State

Written with OAH Distinguished Lecturer Kelly Lytle Hernandez