Gwynn Thomas

Gwynn Thomas 
Telephone: (716) 645-0793
Email: gmthomas@buffalo.edu



Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison (Political Science)

Recent Courses

WS 228 Introduction to Feminist Theory
WS 247 Women in Latin America
WS 518 Readings in Feminist Theory
WS 590 Feminism and the Body Politic

Research Interests

Latin America, women’s political participation and leadership, gender and politics, transnational feminism, comparative women’s movements, feminist theory, citizenship and state development.


Dr. Thomas’ research and teaching focus is on gender and politics in Latin America. Her forthcoming book, It’s a Family Affair: Mobilizing Citizens, Claiming Leadership and Contesting Legitimacy in Chilean Politics (Penn State Press) reveals how Chileans turned to familial beliefs to understand, make sense of, and participate in the turbulent political events of the 1970s and 1980s.  In doing so, the book provides new insights into how gender shapes political transitions and state development. A current book project analyzes the election of Michelle Bachelet as Chile’s first woman president and her attempts to pursue a gender equality agenda through legislative and policy changes. Work from this ongoing study appears in the Journal of Women, Politics and Policy, The International Feminist Journal of Politics, and in a volume on the global rise of women to national office. Other work appears in the ISA Compendium Project, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and Latin American Perspectives. She has received the Elsa Chaney Award given by the Gender and Feminist Studies section of the Latin American Studies Association (2007). Her research has been supported by grants from the Social Science Research Council, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Tinker Foundation, the Baldy Center, and the Institute for Research and Education on Women and Gender. Dr. Thomas teaches courses on feminist theory, women and politics in Latin America, citizenship and the gendered development of nation-states.

Recent Publications

It’s a Family Affair: Mobilizing Citizens, Claiming Leadership and Contesting Legitimacy in Chilean Politics. (The Pennsylvania State University Press, in press).

“Breaking the Final Glass Ceiling: The Influence of Gender in the Election of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Michelle Bachelet” with Melinda Adams (equal co-authorship). Forthcoming in Journal of Women, Politics and Policy, 31 (2) (2010).

“Transnational Feminist Activism and Globalizing Women’s Movements” with Melinda Adams (equal co-authorship). In Robert A.  Denemark. The International Studies Encyclopedia. (Blackwell Publishing, 2010). Blackwell Reference Online.

“Renegotiating Political Leadership: Michelle Bachelet’s Rise to the Chilean Presidency.” With Susan Franceschet (equal co-authorship) in Rainbow Murray, ed. Cracking the Highest Glass Ceiling: A Global Comparison of Women’s Campaigns, (Praeger Publishing, 2010).

“Michelle Bachelet’s Liderazgo Feminino (Feminine Leadership): Gender and Redefining Political Leadership in Chile’s 2005 Presidential Campaign,” Forthcoming in the International Feminist Journal of Politics.

“The Legacies of Patrimonial Patriarchalism: Contesting Political Legitimacy in Allende’s Chile.” Forthcoming in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, vol. 636 (2011). Special edition edited by Julia Adams and Mounira Charrad, on, The Power of Kinship: Patrimonial States in Global Perspective.

“The Ties that Bind: The Familial Roots of Political Legitimacy” in Lisa Gurley, Claudia Leeb and Alosia Moser, eds. Feminists Contest Politics and Philosophy (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2005).


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