Rebecca U. Thorpe is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Washington. Her research focuses on U.S. political institutions and state development, with an emphasis on the growth and fortification of American empire, mass suburbanization & urban gentrification, and the rise of expansive U.S. prison complex. Her first book, The American Warfare State: The Domestic Politics of Military Spending (University of Chicago Press, 2014), examines the development and persistence of a permanent U.S. military complex and growth in presidential power to launch military actions. She is currently working on a second book project examining how state interventions shaped the racial and spatial dimensions of poverty, violence and incarceration in post-World War II American society.
Her work has received national recognition, including the American Political Science Association's Richard Neustadt Award for best book on executive politics in 2015, the D. B. Hardeman Award presented by the Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation for the best book on the US Congress in 2016, and APSA’s Heinz Eulau Award for the best article in Perspectives on Politics in 2016.
Thorpe received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Maryland in 2010. She was a Research Fellow at The Brookings Institution from 2008-2009. During the 2009-2010 academic year she worked on Capitol Hill as an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow.