Ayanna Thompson is an expert in Shakespearean studies specializing in Renaissance drama and race in performance. Unofficially known as the “Othello whisperer,” Thompson is the director of the Arizona Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies and creator of the RaceB4Race symposium, an ongoing conference series and professional network community for scholars of color.
Thompson is a Regents Professor of English and director of the Arizona Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies. Thompson’s studies also include British literature, theatre, race and gender politics.
She is the author of several books, including "Shakespeare in the Theatre: Peter Sellars," "Teaching Shakespeare with Purpose: A Student-Centred Approach," "Passing Strange: Shakespeare, Race, and Contemporary America," and "Performing Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage.”