Research Areas

Gender and Achievement; Bereavement Process; Community Service; South Asian Dance/Music; Ethnography 


Ph.D., Harvard University

M.M., Cleveland Institute of Music

A.B., Mount Holyoke College


Curriculum Vitae (pdf)

Germaine Lawrence

WSRC Waltham Committee

Susan Thomson

Susan Thomson

Susan Thomson

Susan Thomson is currently a Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. Her courses include Social Anthropology, Community Service, Sociology of the Family, Honors Seminar on Homelessness: Lowell & Mumbai, and Sociology of Health & Healthcare. Qualitative research methods, including ethnography, oral history interviews and/or participatory action research, are an important part of her teaching. For example, this past semester students in her Seminar on Homelessness created e-portfolios describing their work with children at a local family shelter, and then created a donation drive in collaboration with the UMass Lowell Office of Sustainability based on identified needs.  Prior to working at UMass Lowell, Susan was the Director of Research at Germaine Lawrence, a residential treatment center for adolescent girls in Arlington, MA. She also taught cultural anthropology at Middlesex Community College for eleven years and was an associate at UMass Lowell's Center for Women and Work. In addition, she was a member of the Lowell Civic Collaborative and an active participant in Middlesex Community College's extensive community service program. While working in Lowell, Susan has done ethnographic research with the Southeast Asian community and with elderly women at an assisted living facility. Her earlier doctoral research focused on ethnographic fieldwork in rural Bihar, India, studying the politics and artistic development of Seraikela Chhau dance.

Current Projects

On leave for the current academic year.

Representative Publications

Thomson, S., Hirshberg, D., Corbett, A., Valila, N., Howley, D. “Residential Treatment for Sexually Exploited Adolescent Girls: Acknowledge, Commit, Transform (ACT).” Children and Youth Care Forum, 33:11, 2290-2296, 2011.

Thomson, Susan. “Along the Path to Nibbana: Civic Engagement, Community Partnerships and Lowell’s Southeast Asian Buddhist Temples.” In Southeast Asian Refugees and Immigrants in the Mill City:  Changing Families, Communities, Institutions – Thirty Years Afterward, edited by S. Cowan, J. Gerson and L. Pho, 112-130.  Hanover, NH: Univ. Press of New England, 2007.