Katrina Daly Thompson

Position title: Professor of Religious Studies, Evjue-Bascom Professor in the Humanities, and Director of the Doctoral Program in Second Language Acquisition

Email: katrina.daly.thompson@wisc.edu

Website: Katrina Daly Thompson's website

225 Bradley Memorial Building


Katrina Daly Thompson is the Evjue-Bascom Professor in the Humanities, Director of the Doctoral Program in Second Language Acquisition, and Professor of Religious Studies with additional affiliations in African Cultural Studies, Anthropology, Gender & Women’s Studies, and Language Sciences. Their research uses critical ethnography and critical discourse analysis to examine African and Muslim discourse, with specific projects in Zimbabwe, Tanzania, North America, and online.


In Thompson’s first monograph, Zimbabwe’s Cinematic Arts: Language, Power, Identity (Indiana University Press, 2012), they used critical discourse analysis to examine how cultural identity is produced, performed, and negotiated in talk and texts about film and television in Zimbabwe. Their next book, Gendered Lives in the Western Indian Ocean: Islam, Marriage, and Sexuality on the Swahili Coasta co-edited volume with Erin Stiles from Ohio University Press (2015), brought together anthropologists, historians, linguists, and gender studies scholars to examine Islam, sexuality, gender, and marriage on the Swahili coast and elsewhere in the Indian Ocean. Thompson’s second monograph, Popobawa: Tanzanian Talk, Global Misreadings  (Indiana University Press, 2017), concerned the transgression of discursive taboos and cultural boundaries of gender and sexuality in Swahili talk about the supernatural.

Thompson’s third monograph is based on multi-sited ethnographic research with nonconformist Muslim communities of practice in North America and online, contributing to queer anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and Islamic Studies. Their book, Muslims on the Margins: Creating Queer Religious Community in North America, was published by NYU Press in the North American Religions series in April 2023.

Dr. Thompson’s current research is an ethnography of a Muslim radio station in Tanzania.

Awards & Honors

  • Evjue-Bascom Professorship, 2022-2027.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, 2020.
  • Vilas Associates Award, UW-Madison, 2018-2020.
  • Faculty Professional Development Grant, UW-Madison, for “Arabic as a Foreign Language.” 2018-19.
  • Summer Fellowship, Institute for Research in the Humanities, UW-Madison. Summer 2018.
  • Honored Instructor Award, UW-Madison University Housing, December 2017.
  • First Prize in the 2016 Ethnographic Fiction and Creative Nonfiction Writing Competition, sponsored by the Society for Humanistic Anthropology, for the ethnographic fiction piece, “Secrets of a Swahili Marriage.”

Selected Publications

  • “Queer-Jewish-Muslim: Constructing Hyphenated Religious Identities through Tactics of Intersubjectivity,” in Queer Jews, Queer Muslims Race, Religion, and Representation, ed. Adi Saleem (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2024), 25–50.
  • Muslims on the Margins: Creating Queer Religious Community in North America. New York: New York University Press, 2023.
  • “Performativity in Africa.” With Mwita Muniko. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Anthropology. Mark Aldenderfer, ed. Oxford University Press, 2023.
  • “African Studies Keyword: Autoethnography.” (With Kathyrn Mara.) African Studies Review 65, no. 2 (2022): 372–98. [P]
  • “Making Space for Embodied Voices, Diverse Bodies, and Multiple Genders in Nonconformist Friday Prayers: A Queer Feminist Ethnography of Progressive Muslims’ Performative Inter-Corporeality in North American Congregations.” American Anthropologist 122, no. 4 (2020): 876–90.
  • “Fictive Fathers in the Field,” Journal of Autoethnography 1, no. 3 (Summer 2020): 265–273.
  • “Queering Language Socialization: Fostering Inclusive Muslim Interpretations through Talk-in-Interaction,” Language & Communication 74 (2020): 29–40.
  • “Voicing Queer Adjustments in a Progressive Muslim Community.” The Maydan (blog). April 28, 2020.
  • “Becoming Muslims with a ‘Queer Voice’: Indexical Disjuncture in the Talk of LGBT Members of the Progressive Muslim Community.” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology30:1 (May 2020): 123–44.
  • “When I Was a Swahili Woman: The Possibilities and Perils of ‘Going Native’ in a Culture of Secrecy.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 48:5 (2019):674–99.
  • POPOBAWA: Tanzanian Talk, Global Misreadings. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2017.
  • “Beginnings and Endings: An Autoethnographic Account of Two Zanzibari Marriages.” Anthropology and Humanism 42:1 (2017): 149–55.
  • “Secrets of a Swahili Marriage.” Anthropology and Humanism42:1 (2017): 118–26.
  • Gendered Lives in the Western Indian Ocean: Islam, Marriage, and Sexuality on the Swahili Coast. Erin Stiles and Katrina Daly Thompson, eds. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2015.
  • Zimbabwe’s Cinematic Arts: Language, Power, Identity. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2012.


RELIG ST 201: Religion in/and Everyday Language

RELIG ST 403: Buddhism and Anti-Racism

RELIG ST 408: Everyday Religion in Africa

RELIG ST/​AFRICAN  414: Islam in Africa and the Diaspora


In addition to teaching undergraduate courses and independent studies in Religious Studies, Dr. Thompson also supervises graduate students in African Cultural Studies, Language Sciences, and Second Language Acquisition, especially those interested in language and religion, African language use, gender and/or sexuality, and ethnographic methods.


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