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Ebony Elizabeth Thomas

Chair of the Joint Program in English and Education; Associate Professor, Marsal Family School of Education



610 E. University Ave
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1259

Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, PhD is Chair of the Joint Program in English and Education at the University of Michigan’s Marsal Family School of Education, as well as Associate Professor of Education. She is the author of The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games (NYU Press, 2019), which won the World Fantasy Award, the British Fantasy Award, and the Children’s Literature Association Book Award, among other accolades. Her most recent books are Harry Potter and the Other: Race, Justice, and Difference in the Wizarding World (University Press of Mississippi, 2022) co-edited with Sarah Park Dahlen, and Restorying Young Adult Literature: Expanding Students’ Perspectives with Digital Texts (NCTE, 2023) co-authored with James Joshua Coleman and Autumn A. Griffin.

Her expertise on race and representation in children’s and young adult literature has been sought after nationally and internationally. She has been interviewed by PBS Newshour, NPR, MSNBC, the BBC, the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Chicago Tribune, to name a few. She is a former reviewer for Kirkus’ children’s book section, and has written book reviews for the Los Angeles Times and Slate. She is a past National Book Award for Young People's Literature judge, and served as a 2020-2022 member of the United States Board on Books for Young People. Her first novel for young readers, Shifter and Dreamer, was a finalist for the New Visions Award and will be published by Lee and Low in Spring 2026.

In addition to her extensive work on books and media for young readers, she has published widely on race, discourse, and interaction in classrooms and digital environments. She is a co-principal investigator on a major James S. McDonnell Foundation Teachers as Learners grant, the Digital Discourse Project (DDP), a longitudinal collaborative inquiry into how partnering teacher consultants in Philadelphia and Denver studied their own discourse practices with data and platforms as they facilitated online discussions during and after the COVID-19 era. A former Detroit Public Schools teacher and National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, she served as co-editor of Research in the Teaching of English from 2018 to 2023. 

Intellectual Clusters

Selected Publications

Thomas, E.E. (2019). The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination in Youth Literature, Media, and Culture. New York: New York University Press.

Thomas, E.E. (2019). Notes toward a Black fantastic: Black Atlantic flights beyond Afrofuturism in young adult literature.The Lion and the Unicorn, 43(2), 282-301.

Thomas, E.E. & Stornaiuolo, A. (2019). Race, storying, and restorying: What can we learn from Black fans? Journal of Transformative Works and Cultures, 9.

Thomas, E.E. & Stornaiuolo, A. (2016). Restorying the self: Bending toward textual justice. Harvard Educational Review, 86(3), 313-338.

Thomas, E.E. (2015). “We always talk about race!”: Navigating race talk dilemmas in the teaching of literature. Research in the Teaching of English, 50(2), 154-175.

Thomas, E.E. (2013). Dilemmatic conversations: Some challenges of culturally responsive discourse in a high school English classroom. Linguistics and Education, 24(3), 328-347.