I believe in teaching, engaging in, and presenting my scholarship in creative ways, as much as possible through collaborative partnerships with individuals and community groups. I strive to do long-term fieldwork that builds on relationships with communities and to make my writing, oral history, photography, and filmmaking connected to real people and their concerns. I seek to promote progressive change by amplifying voices and illuminating social injustices. I believe that education and the practice of change are inseparable. I strive to combine learning with ethics and responsibility to others.
There is no one-way communication, and I believe it’s impossible to understand social issues without engagement with communities outside the academy. My goal as an educator is to encourage others to do community-based work. To teach is to believe that each student has the potential to change the world.
As part of a Duke university-wide course in 2015 entitled, “Critical Food Studies, co-taught with the Duke Dean of Arts and Sciences, I directed a series of videos entitled, “Plate Tectonics.” Each of the themes is food and farm-related, many of them in North Carolina, but one ranging all the way to Iowa. A link to these video shorts, which were shown one-a-week in the course, is here: cdthomps.com/plate-tectonics.