Margaret Susan (Peggy) Thompson is a professor of History and Political Science at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She is also a Senior Research Associate at the Campbell Public Affairs Institute, and holds courtesy appointments in the Departments of Religion and Women & Gender Studies.
Prof. Thompson was trained as a political historian, with a focus on the nineteenth-century United States and, particularly, the Congress. Her first book, The “Spider Web”: Congress and Lobbying in the Age of Grant (Cornell University Press), reflects both her scholarly and hands-on experience, the latter as American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow. Recently, Professor Thompson’s work has focused on the history of American Catholic nuns. She has written and lectured extensively on the subject, and has an 18-lecture audio series available through Learn25.com. Her research is from an explicitly feminist perspective, emphasizing the agency and social significance of sisters to American religious and secular history. As a result of this research, she has had the privilege of speaking internationally as well as across the U.S., and has served as a consultant to numerous documentarians and religious communities. Her most recent publication is “Sacraments as Weapons: Patriarchal Coercion and Engendered Power in the 19th-Century Convent” (Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Fall 2022), and she has presented in the FutureChurch Women Erased series. Her forthcoming book, The Yoke of Grace: American Nuns and Social Change, 1809-1917, is under contract with Oxford University Press.
Prof. Thompson is also grateful to be part of the preaching rotation in her parish: St. Lucy’s in Syracuse, New York.