Politics Faculty

Our core faculty bring a wide range of approaches and disciplinary backgrounds to the study of politics. Graduate students may also benefit from working with our affiliated graduate faculty.

Megan Thomas
  • Title
    • Associate Professor
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Politics Department
  • Affiliations History of Consciousness Department, Merrill College
  • Phone
    831-459-2026
  • Email
  • Fax
    831-459-3125
  • Website
  • Office Location 160 Merrill Faculty Annex
  • Office Hours Sp17 Thurs 3:30-5 and by appt.
  • Mail Stop Merrill Faculty Services
  • Mailing Address
    • Merill FS, UCSC, 1156 High St.
    • Santa Cruz CA 95064
  • Courses Taught Poli 10: Nationalism; Poli 190D: Early Socialist and Anarchist Thought, W15; Poli 109: Orientalism, Sp 15; Poli 105C/LgSt 105C: Modern Political Thought, Sp15; Poli 200A: Topics in Political Theory; Poli 209: Radical Political Thought; Poli 255: Comparative Anti-Colonial Thought and Movements

Research Interests

Professor Thomas has written about how scholarship in the human sciences is taken up by political thinkers and movements. More particularly, she studies how Orientalist and ethnological research and thinking informed nationalist, socialist, and anarchist thought at the end of the nineteenth century. Her research has focused primarily on the Philippines.

In her book, Orientalists, Propagandists, and Ilustrados: Filipino Scholarship and the End of Spanish Colonialism, she argues that Filipino intellectuals used Orientalist genres, methods, and societies for anti-colonial scholarly and political ends. This project has led her to more general comparative interests in nineteenth-century Orientalist scholarship, its political uses, and its relationship to the emerging comparative human sciences. She has written about shared qualities of nineteenth-century European Orientalist thought and contemporary comparative political theory, and about newspapers of late nineteenth-century Manila.

She is currently pursuing two new research projects: one is on nineteenth-century anarchist Mikhail Bakunin's conceptions of enlightenment and education, and how secrecy can enable each of those things; the other is on the ambiguity of sovereignty and the relationship between sovereignty and political action, which she is exploring via the case of the contests of sovereignty in the Philippines during the British occupation of Manila (1762-64).

Biography, Education and Training

Ph.D. (2002) Cornell University, Department of Government. Major: Political Theory. Minor: Colonialism and Nationalism.

M.Sc. (1994) London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Government. Major: Political Theory.

B.A. (summa cum laude, 1992) Oberlin College. Major: English Literature. Minors: Philosophy, Women’s Studies.

Teaching Interests

Professor Thomas teaches courses in 19th and 20th century political theory, Orientalism, comparative colonialism and anti-colonialism, and nationalism.