Will Thomson
NYU Department of Anthropology
25 Waverly Place
New York, NY 10003
202-567-7707 wbt211@nyu.edu

Curriculum Vitae


New York University

Ph.D. Socio-Cultural Anthropology
- Dissertation: “China Constructs: Value and Sacrifice in Architecture”

- Fieldwork: September 2010-July 2012. Xi’an, China

M.Phil Socio-Cultural Anthropology 

M.A. Socio-Cultural Anthropology
-Thesis: Violent Constructions: “How Individual Grievances Define a Site for Protest in Urban China”

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

B.A. Asian Languages and Literature, cum laude 

B.A. Journalism, cum laude
- Phi Beta Kappa

- Kappa Tau Alpha
-National Journalism Honor Society
- Massachusetts Commonwealth Honors


Research Grants and Fellowships

Social Science Research Council International
Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF) 

National Science Foundation 

Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (DDIG)
Law and Social Sciences program
(Professor Sally Merry, PI)

Wenner-Gren Foundation
- Doctoral Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

New York University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences   
MacCracken Doctoral Fellowship



Critical Languages Scholarship Alumni Development Award,
U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

Critical Languages Scholarship, Advanced Mandarin 

U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

NYU Sustainability Taskforce Green Grant
Project: “Green Fieldwork Initiative” to determine travel-related emissions for inclusion in university carbon inventory

Stonewall Community Service Award,
University of Massachusetts, Amherst


Public Anthropology

Editorial Assistant, Online Editor. Anthropology Now, Paradigm  -

-Technical and Editorial Assistant. Material World Blog - NYU / UCL


Service and Activities  

Sustainability Taskforce, NYU, Social/Cultural Working Group Member

Global Idea Exchange Fellow, NYU Global Programs, NYU-Shanghai

Graduate Teaching Certificate, NYU Center for Teaching Excellence  

International Journalist Training Program, Workshop Organizer and Co-Leader. - Dubrovnik Training Institute, WBUR and US State Department



Thomson, Will. “Mr. December” Clog (Architecture Quarterly), Volume: “Rem” 

Thomson, Will. “ A Conversation with Director James Cameron (Published  
Interview),” Anthropology Now, Vol. 2, No. 3,

Thomson, Will. Visual Essay. “Human Terrain: Hearts and Minds, Bullets and  
Bodies.” Anthropology Now 1(1): 54-55


Papers In Preparation

“Texting the City: Red Banners, Words of the State, Inscriptions on the ---- Road to Urban Renewal”

“Comic Transformation: Depictions of Labor in Illustrated Construction ---- Safety Manuals from Socialism to Reform.” 


“Modou: Enchanted Objects of Architecture” – Invited Presentation

Department of the History of Science, Harvard University
Workshop on New Horizons in the History of Modern East Asian Science and Technology

“Transformational Zones: Continuities and Discontinuities in Economic Zones’ Promise in China” - Invited Presentation
New School and New York University
Zonal Logics of Modernity Workshop

“Spaces for Building Workers: On the Boundary of the Labor Process and Commodity Architecture in Urban China” - Conference Paper
Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association

“Sacrifice to Build the Future: Personal and National Contributions in Construction” - Workshop Presentation
Shanghai University and The Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity
Urban Ambitions - Summer Institute, Shanghai, Professor Peter van der Veer

“China’s Construction Middlemen: Mediating Global Capital and Rural Labor to Make New Urban Space”
Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association

“Rewriting the City: Making Private Space Through Words of the State” – Conference Paper American Association of Geographers
“The Privatization of Public Space? Comparisons, periodizations and trajectories.” Panel organizers, Setha Low and Kevin Ward

“Building Rural-Urban Difference.” –Conference Paper NYU East Asian Studies Department Conference
The Agrarian Question and Modernization Workshop

“Designing China: Seminar in Experimental Critical Theory” -Participant
UC Humanities Research Institute - Shanghai, China

Teaching Experience

Co-Instructor, Graduate Elective Seminar, with Pei Zhao, Professor of Architecture.
Xi'an University of Architecture and Technology
- Course: “Design and Anthropological Ethnography”

Instructor, Graduate Elective Seminar
Shaanxi Normal University, Northwest Ethnology Center
- Course: “Introduction to American and European Anthropological Theory”


Teaching Assistantships:

New York University
- Course: “Human Society and Culture” 2010 -  Course: “Human Society and Culture” 

Course: “World Cultures: India”  -


New Media and Journalism – Employment History

Random House, Fodor’s Guide  Travel Writer, Researcher – East China Chapter, 2007 Ed.

WBUR 90.9 Public Radio - Boston, MA  Online Producer, Reporter, Editor

Digital Lava – Marina del Rey, CA  Senior Multimedia Producer


Digital Media Projects:

Vote by Issue – Online Elections Project
Civic Journalism platform focusing campaign coverage on substantive issues
- Patent App: #US 20040167882 A1, Thomson, William B, Smith, William, “System and method for determining a user preference for a candidate.”

- Featured by Poynter Institute, Cyberjournalist, and J-Lab

- Honorable mention, Batten Award for Innovation in Journalism (2004)
- Licensed and Implemented in elections:
PBS The News Hour - 2004;
WBUR Public Radio, Boston - 2004, 2006, 2008
 KQED Public Media, San Francisco -2004
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation -2005
Yahoo! UK -2005

Legal Translator - WBUR.org
Online platform allowing users to read and comprehend legal documents and  judicial decisions with guiding commentary by legal experts

CookingFire, Food Culture Blog
Food blog exploring intersections of global cooking traditions and culture
- Named in the About.com “Ten Best Food Blogs, 2005”



Languages: Mandarin Chinese, Spanish. Training in Shaanxi Dialect
Music: Oboe – advanced, classical and jazz ensembles