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Ayanna Thompson

About Ayanna Thompson

Ayanna Thompson is a Professor of English at Arizona State University where she directs the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. 

 She is the author of many titles, including Shakespeare in the Theatre: Peter Sellars (Arden Bloomsbury, 2018), and Passing Strange: Shakespeare, Race, and Contemporary America (Oxford University Press, 2011). She wrote the new introduction for the revised Arden3 Othello (Arden, 2016), and is the editor of Colorblind Shakespeare: New Perspectives on Race and Performance (London and New York: Routledge, 2006).

Ayanna Thompson was the 2018-19 President of the Shakespeare Association of America, and has served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Association of Marshall Scholars. She was one of Phi Beta Kappa’s Visiting Scholars for 2017-2018. 

As the Director of the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Thompson’s primary goal is to develop the foundation for diverse and inclusive futures in premodern studies. In that effort, she created the RaceB4Race symposium. This biannual conference series aims to address pipeline issues in the field by fostering opportunities for scholars of color to share their work on premodern critical race studies.