Carly Thomsen completed her Ph.D. in Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her dissertation, Unbecoming: Visibility Politics and Queer Rurality, critically analyzes calls to be "out, loud, and proud" by examining cultural representations, discourses, and experiences of LGBTQ women in rural South Dakota and Minnesota. Thomsen's project revises assumptions about the ostensible relations between gay community, identity, and visibility; questions the notion that political visibility leads to rights or justice; and challenges dominant conceptions of the nature of rural communities.
Thomsen has received various awards and fellowships to support her research, including the Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowship in Women's Studies, a grant from the Myra Sadker Foundation, and various University of California awards. Her article "From Refusing Stigmatization to Celebration: New Directions for Reproductive Justice Activism" is published in Feminist Studies. She has forthcoming articles in Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, The Oxford Handbook of Feminist Theory, Climate Futures, and Queering the Countryside: New Directions in Rural Queer Studies.
During her time at Rice, Thomsen developed her dissertation into a book project and began conducting research for her next major research project. Drawing from food studies, feminist and queer theory, critical race, queer Marxism, disability studies, critical geography, and rural queer studies, Thomsen will examine the ideologies undergirding and ramifications of food justice movements and their calls for "local foods."