W. John Thomas
Professor of Law
BA, JD, University of Arizona; MPH, LLM, Yale University
School of Law
Health Law - Law Spring 2018
Civil Procedure II - Law Spring 2018
A School of Law faculty member since 1988, Professor John Thomas is the Carmen A. Tortora Professor of Law. He holds a BA and JD from the University of Arizona and an LLM and MPH from Yale University. John teaches health law and intellectual property in the law school and the Health Policy and Advocacy in the medical school. John’s 170 + publications address topics from gun violence to health policy, politics, autism, juvenile justice, and music and musical instruments and have appeared in law reviews, medical journals, major newspapers, a wide range of music magazines, and the Oxford Dictionary of Music. John’s current book, "Kalamazoo Gals: A Story of the Extraordinary Women and Gibson’s 'Banner' Guitars of WWII" (American History Press, 2013), centers on the oral histories of twelve women who appeared in a 1944 photograph and has been featured on National Public Radio, the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), Voice of America, was the subject of an hour-long BBC documentary on June 23, 2014, and is the subject of a play opening in June 2016 at a festival in Michigan. John's next two books, "One Hundred Years of Solitude, Struggle, and Violence along the US/Mexico Border: An Oral History" (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2017) and "Bordering Madness: Social and Cultural Transformation of the Communities Living along the US/Mexico Border" (Edwin Mellon Press, 2018), address the historical, cultural, legal, and political dynamics surrounding the Mexico/US border. John has spoken on legal, historical, and cultural topics across the US and in dozen other countries.
Interests & Hobbies
I am a fingerstyle guitar player. I play instrumental, acoustic music. My influences range from the blues greats of the 1920s and 1930s to Merle Travis, Chet Atkins, and Jerry Reed. I perform locally and and around the world.
Here's a sampling of what I've been up to lately. -- BOOKS -- “One Hundred Years of Solitude, Struggle, and Violence along the US/Mexico Border: An Oral History (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2017); “Borderland Lives: Social and Cultural Transformation of the Communities Living along the US/Mexico Border” (Edwin Mellon Press, 2019); Field Editor, “Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders” (2nd Ed., Fred R. Volkmar, Editor in Chief, Springer Press, 2018); “Kalamazoo Gals: A Story of the Extraordinary Women and Gibson’s ‘Banner’ Guitars of WWII (American History Press, 2013). -- LAW AND MEDICAL JOURNAL ARTICLES -- “Inaugural Quinnipiac Health Law Journal Elyn Saks Issue,” 17 Quinnipiac Health Law Journal (2016); “The Devil and Mr. Johnson: A Bluesman’s Son Wins Possession on Judgment Day,” 16 TEXAS REV. ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS L. 107 (2015); “Introduction to Symposium on International Wildlife Trafficking Law and Policy,” QLR ONLINE (forthcoming 2015); “Gun Laws, Access to Mental Health Treatment, and the Prevalence of Gun Violence,” QUINNIPIAC HEALTH LAW JOURNAL (2014); “Autism, Medicine, and the Poison of Enthusiasm and Superstition,” 7 J. HEALTH & BIOMEDICAL L. 449 (2012); “Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery for Treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Humanitarian Emergency?” 28 PSYCHIATRIC TIMES 1 (August 2011).; “Behind the sweet sounds,” 42(5) JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF RADIOLOGIC TECHNOLOGISTS 8, 2010 (with Tania Blyth & Shelley Giordano); “’Paranoia Strikes Deep’: MMR Vaccine and Autism,” 27:3 PSYCHIATRIC TIMES (2010); “The Past, Present, and Future of Medical Marijuana in the United States,” 27:1 PSYCHIATRIC TIMES (2010); “Mental Health Professionals in the “Enhanced” Interrogation Room,” 26:11 PSYCHIATRIC TIMES (October 28, 2009); “The Devil and Mr. Johnson: A Bluesman’s Cultural Legacy at an Intellectual Property Crossroads,” 11 TEXAS REV. ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS L. 1 (2009); “Play It Again, Hillary: A Dramaturgical Examination of a Repeat Health Care Plan Performance,” 19 STANFORD LAW & POLICY REVIEW 283 (2009). -- ARTICLES IN OTHER JOURNALS -- “Buddy Holly’s Les Paul: The Guitar that Didn’t Change the Course of Musical and Cultural History,” 38 FRETBOARD JOURNAL (2017); Liner notes to John Stein, COLOR TONES, Whaling City Sound (2017); Liner notes to John Stein, CORK, Whaling City Sound (2017); Liner notes to Michael Watts, Vetiver, Curtain Men Records (2016); “Derek Trucks: Getting back to that Place,” 36 FRETBOARD JOURNAL (Cover story, 2016); “Remembering Guy Clark,” FRETBOARD JOURNAL (May 20, 2016) (online); “Woodstock Invitational Luthiers Showcase 2015,” FRETBOARD JOURNAL (October 27, 2015) (online); “Return of a Prodigal Guitar: Curator Vince Gill Returns an Instrument to Nashville Journeyman Bob Minner,” 34 FRETBOARD JOURNAL (2015); “New US Ivory Rules Limit Import, Export and Interstate Ivory Sales,” FRETBOARD JOURNAL (July 29, 2015) (online). “Memphis Acoustic Guitar Festival: A Few of My Favorite Things,” FRETBOARD JOURNAL (June 12, 2015) (online); “Guitar Building Workshop with Jay Lichty: Encore,” FRETBOARD JOURNAL (April 7, 2015) (online).
Community / Practive Activities
Over the past decade and a half, I've been volunteering my services to anyone who approaches me with a proposal to create an interesting and worthwhile IRC 501c3 charity. I've now created 15 non-profits. One of the most memorable is The Buddy Holly Educational Foundation. We've building 18 replica's of Buddy's favorite guitar, and recruited "ambassadors" to use the instruments to further Buddy's legacy and to raise funds for projects that support young music artists. Our Ambassadors include Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Brian May. Please check out our website.
Selected Workshops & Presentations
Recent speaking engagements. December 8, 2016: Podcast, Fretboard Journal: Amendments to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). -- October 30, 2016: Woody Guthrie Center, Tulsa, OK: Kalamazoo Gals. -- October 16, 2016: San Diego, CA: inducted T Bone Burnett into The Buddy Holly Educational Foundation to serve as an “ambassador” alongside Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Pete Townshend, Brian May, and others. -- October 15, 2016: Fretboard Summit, San Diego, CA: Gibson guitars. -- October 15, 2016: Fretboard Summit, San Diego, CA: Kalamazoo Gals, August 6, 2016: The North American Guitar, London, UK: Musical instruments and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the US Lacey Act. -- August 2-4, 2016: 11th International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Imperial College London, London, UK, Conducted a workshop on an aspect of my upcoming book (Solitude, Struggle, and Violence: A One Hundred Year Oral History of the Communities on Both Sides of the US/Mexico Border (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016, or so)): “Borderland Lives: Social and Cultural Transformation of the Communities Living along the US/Mexico Border.” -- July 7, 2016: Conducted seminar for the Aetna Insurance executives regarding the Affordable Care Act. -- June 1-4, 2016: 62nd annual conference of the American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), held in conjunction with the 60th annual conference of Spanish Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Association (AEPNYA), San Sebastian, Spain. Chaired panel: “Psychiatric, Cognitive, Legal, and Public Health Challenges Facing Refugee Children: An Integrated Approach.” -- Presented an aspect of my upcoming book (Solitude, Struggle, and Violence: A One Hundred Year Oral History of the Communities on Both Sides of the US/Mexico Border (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016, or so)): “The Legal and Public Health Challenges Facing Refugee Children.” April 13-16, 2016: 58th Annual Conference of the Association for Borderlands Studies, held in conjunction with the conference of Western Social Science Association, Reno, Nevada: Borderland Lives: Social and Cultural Transformation of the Communities Living along the United States and Mexico Border. -- February 10-13, 2016: 37th Annual Southwest Popular/American Culture Association Conference, Albuquerque, NM: Borderland Lives: Social and Cultural Transformation of the Communities Living along the United States and Mexico Border. -- January 23, 2016: Kalamazoo Valley Museum, Kalamazoo, MI: opening of the Kalamazoo Gals exhibit. -- November 6, 2015: Fretboard Summit, Santa Cruz, California: Kalamazoo Gals. -- November 6, 2015: Fretboard Summit, Santa Cruz, California: Musical instruments and environmental law. -- October 27, 2015: Association of American University Women (AAUW), Old Saybrook, Connecticut: Kalamazoo Gals. -- June 27, 2015: Swedish Public Radio P4, Pop och Politik: opened its series on women’s history with an hour-long conversation with me about my book, Kalamazoo Gals. -- June 12, 2015: Chester Village West, Connecticut: Kalamazoo Gals. -- May 21, 2015: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua (UNAN), León, Nicaragua: US immigration and immigration law. -- March 28, 2015: American Association of University Women (AAUW), Old Saybrook, Connecticut: Kalamazoo Gals. -- March 21, 2015: Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Kalamazoo, MI: Kalamazoo Gals. -- March 20, 2015: Schoolcraft Community Library, Schoolcraft, MI: Kalamazoo Gals. -- March 19, 2015: Kalamazoo Valley Museum: Kalamazoo, MI: Kalamazoo Gals. -- December 7, 2014: Liberty Science Center, Liberty, NY: Kalamazoo Gals. -- November 15, 2014: Lawyer2Lawyer, constitutional authority for quarantine and isolation. -- November 7, 2014: Quinnipiac University, host and speaker: International Wildlife Trafficking: Law and Policy. -- October 10, 2014: Kalamazoo Valley Museum: Kalamazoo Gals. -- October 10, 2014: Old Dog Tavern, Kalamazoo, MI: Kalamazoo Gals Day Music Festival. -- October 7, 2014: National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Quinnipiac: mental illness stigma. -- August, 12, 2014, Durban, South Africa, international congress of the International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions (IACAPAP): Keynote address: Gun laws, access to mental health treatment, and the prevalence of gun violence: a comparative examination of a critical balance. -- June 23, 2014: BBC radio 2 aired an hour long program about my book, Kalamazoo Gals. The BBC’s description: “Presented by Suzi Quatro this hour long radio documentary tells the story of the women who produced Gibson 'Banner' guitars during the Second World War and endeavours to discover why the company denied the women made these instruments.”