Douglas Thomas is associate professor in the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California and a fellow at the USC Annenberg Center. He received his PhD from the University of Minnesota in communication in 1992 and specializes in critical theory and cultural studies of technology. His current research, supported by the MacArthur Foundation, the Lounsbery Foundation, and the Annenberg Center at USC, focuses on the uses of virtual worlds for education and global civic engagement.
He is founding editor of Games & Culture: A Journal of Interactive Media, a quarterly international journal that aims to publish innovative theoretical and empirical research about games and culture within the context of interactive media. His books include: Hacking Culture (University of Minnesota Press, 2002), a study of the cultural, social, and political dimensions of computer hacking; Reading Nietzsche Rhetorically (Guilford Press, 1998), an examination of the role of representation in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche; Technological Visions: The Hopes and Fears That Shape New Technologies (with Marita Sturken and Sandra Ball-Rokeach, Temple UP, 2004); and Cybercrime: Law Enforcement, Security and Surveillance in the Information Age (with Brian D. Loader; Routledge, 2000).
His current book projects include Power, Play and Performance: Studying Virtual Worlds and Play and Politics: Games, Civic Engagement, and Social Activism. Professor Thomas is a founding member of the critical and cultural studies division of the National Communication Association and has served as chair of the division, serves on the advisory board for the Research Center for Cyberculture Studies at the University of Washington, and is currently vice-president of the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) and program chair for the ACM/SIGGRAPH Video Game Symposium. He has testified before the U.S. Congress on issues of computer hacking, cyberterrorism, and critical infrastructure protection.