- PhD - University of Oregon, English/Folklore and Ethnic Studies - 1992
- MS - Utah State University, American Studies - 1987
- BS - Utah State University - 1985
Dr. Jeannie Banks Thomas is a professor in the English Department. She served as the Department Head for the English Department (2009-2020), she also served as Interim Associate Dean for the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (2008-10); the Interim Program Head for Interior Design (2006-2008); and the Director of the Folklore Program (2003-2008). She earned her PhD at the University of Oregon in 1992 in English with an emphasis in Folklore and Ethnic Studies. She taught at Indiana State University prior to coming to USU.
A specialist in legend and the supernatural, material culture, and gender, her books include: Putting the Supernatural in Its Place (University of Utah Press, 2015); Haunting Experiences (Utah State University Press, 2007), winner of the Brian McConnell Award; Naked Barbies, Warrior Joes, and Other Forms of Visible Gender (University of Illinois Press, 2003); and Featherless Chickens, Laughing Women, and Serious Stories (University of Virginia Press, 1997), winner of the Elli Köngäs-Maranda Prize.
She has published numerous articles and book chapters. Recent publications include a book chapter on Cape Breton (Canada) ghost stories and #BlackLivesMatter. The latter grew out of her work with the Digital Folklore Project (DFP), which she originated and co-directs. The DFP is a virtual research and tracking center hosted by Utah State University's Department of English, Folklore Program, and Fife Folklore Archives in the Merrill-Cazier Library. It tracks digital folklore trends—such as urban legends, Internet memes, hashtags, videos, and other trending items. It creates digital depositories of this online lore and annually announces the #DigitalTrendoftheYear.
The recipient of several awards for her research, teaching, and service, Dr. Thomas is the former editor of Midwestern Folklore. She has been a member of the editorial boards of Western Folklore and Folklore Historian. She also served on American Folklore Society’s Publications Committee, the Governing Council of the International Society for Contemporary Legend Research, and the Native Memory Project.