Professor Thusi combines anthropological methodology and historical analysis to examine policing and criminalization at the intersection of justice, gender, and race. She has written on a variety of issues on the structural inequality in the criminal justice system, including the policing of sex workers, the marginalization of students in disciplinary alternative education programs, the systemic causes of the “school-to-prison” pipeline, and the reluctance to embrace judicial discretion for substantial assistance departures (time off for good cooperation) in sentencing decisions.
Thusi’s research is inextricably connected to her previous legal experience at organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and—most recently—The Opportunity Agenda, a social justice communication lab that collaborates to effect lasting policy and culture change. She served as a federal law clerk to two social justice giants: the Honorable Robert L. Carter, who sat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and was the lead counsel for the NAACP in Brown v. Board of Education; and the Honorable Damon J. Keith, who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and is lauded for his prominent civil rights jurisprudence. She also clerked for Justice van der Westhuizen at the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the country’s highest court.
Among other acknowledgements throughout her career, Thusi received a W.E.B. Dubois Fellowship at Harvard University, the Andrew W. Mellon Doctoral Fellowship in the Humanities, and was named a Next Generation African Scholar by the Social Science Research Council. She has published or has forthcoming articles in the Lewis & Clark Law Review, Fordham International Law Journal, and the University of Toledo Law Review, amongst others.