Shevory, Thomas C. 1955–

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Shevory, Thomas C. 1955–


Born June 5, 1955, in Boston, MA; son of Thomas F. (a teacher) and Joan P. (a librarian) Shevory; married Tamara Divasto, July 31, 1999. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: Hobart and William Smith College, B.A., 1976; University of Iowa, M.A., 1978, Ph.D., 1983. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Unitarian. Hobbies and other interests: Music (piano), jogging, biking.


Home—Ithaca, NY. Office—Department of Politics, Ithaca College, 315 Muller Center, Ithaca, NY 14850. E-mail—[email protected].


Political scientist, educator, and writer. Cornell College, Mt. Vernon, IA, instructor, 1983; Alma College, Alma, MI, assistant professor of political sci- ence, 1983-84; Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York, assistant professor, 1988-94, associate professor, 1994-2003, professor of politics, 2003—, chair of department, 2004—, served as coordinator for the environmental studies program, 2001-03. Fulbright Scholar at the Free Independent University of Moldova and Moldova State University, Chisinau, Moldova; codirector of the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, Ithaca, NY, 2005—.


Sid W. Richardson fellowship: University of Texas Medical Branch, 1983; Fulbright Teaching Award, 1995-96; recipient of numerous grants.


John Marshall's Achievement, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1989.

John Marshall's Law, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1994.

Body/Politics, Praeger (New York, NY), 2000.

Notorious H.I.V.: The Media Spectacle of Nushawn Williams, University of Minnesota Press (Minneapolis, MN), 2004.

Toxic Burn: The Grassroots Struggle against the WTI Incinerator, University of Minnesota Press (Minneapolis, MN), 2007.

Contributor to books, including Political Mythology and Popular Culture, edited by Ernest Yanarella and Lee Sigelman, Greenwood Press, 1987; Contributions to the American Constitutional Experience, edited by Stephen L. Schecter and Richard B. Bernstein, New York State Commission on the Bicentennial of the US Constitution, 1990; Issues in Human Reproductive Technology I: An Anthology, edited by Helen B. Holmes, Garland Press, 1991; Environmental Crime and Criminality, edited by Sally M. Edwards, Terry O. Edwards, and Charles B. Fields, Garland Publishing, 1996. Contributor to scholarly journals, including Politics and the Life Sciences, Southeastern Political Review, Journal of Women and Politics, Popular Music and Society, International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, and the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. Editorial board member of Popular Communication. Also manuscript reviewer for University of Minnesota Press, Oxford University Press, Routledge Press, Women and Politics Poroi: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Rhetorical Analysis and Invention, Politics and Policy, and Popular Communication.


Thomas C. Shevory has written books and numerous scholarly articles on issues related to law, public policy, and popular culture. In many of his writings, he pays special attention to health and the environment. In his 2004 book, Notorious H.I.V.: The Media Spectacle of Nushawn Williams, the author tells the true story behind the Williams case. In 1997, Chautauqua County, New York, authorities received an exception to the state's HIV confidentiality law and released Williams's name and picture to the press. Williams was called a "public health threat" and someone they considered to be the source of HIV infections of at least nine women. In addition to media reports, the author uses legal documents and interviews with many of the people involved in the case, including Williams, to discuss what he views as the many exaggerations and distortions associated with the case, especially the depiction of Williams as a monster spreading AIDS. According to Shevory, this portrayal of Williams resulted in fostering the passage of HIV-transmission statutes that criminalized a public health problem.

"Like the best traditional ethnography, the early chapters of Shevory's work reads like a compelling novel," wrote Benjamin Shepard in the Lambda Book Report, adding that "the legal analysis of the final chapters successfully demonstrates the author's core argument that the media frenzy around the case dehumanized Williams in a manner which compromised core elements of the criminal justice and penal system." Kai Wright, writing in City Limits, called Notorious H.I.V. a "well-considered reexamination of the case."

Shevory's next book, Toxic Burn: The Grassroots Struggle against the WTI Incinerator, examines the WTI incinerator in East Liverpool, Ohio, and the economics and politics behind hazardous waste disposal. Shevory documents the activities of the activist movement protesting the operation of the WTI incinerator, which burns 60,000 tons of hazardous waste each year, even though it is located within one hundred yards of an elementary school and has a history of accidents. Using official documents and interviews with key participants, the author tells the story from its beginning in the 1970s, when local officials first started looking for a way to replace the jobs lost by the area's failed pottery and steel industries. Shevory follows the story through to today's grassroots efforts, which have seen a curtailment of the industry's expansion. An Internet Bookwatch contributor noted that Shevory shows "how ordinary people are a necessary counterbalance to the power of corporations."



City Limits, May, 2004, Kai Wright, "Spreading Infection: A Correspondent Documents the Mythmaking behind a Monster," review of Notorious H.I.V.: The Media Spectacle of Nushawn Williams, p. 34.

Internet Bookwatch, September, 2007, review of Toxic Burn: The Grassroots Struggle against the WTI Incinerator.

Lambda Book Report, January-March, 2005, Benjamin Shepard, "Taking Names," review of Notorious H.I. V., p. 34.


Ithaca College Web site, (April 11, 2008), faculty profile of Shevory.