Thomas Pepinsky


Thomas Pepinsky is Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Government at Cornell University. He specializes in comparative politics and international political economy, with a focus on emerging markets and Southeast Asia. He is the author of Economic Crises and the Breakdown of Authoritarian Regimes: Indonesia and Malaysia in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2009) and coauthor of Piety and Public Opinion: Understanding Indonesian Islam (Oxford University Press, forthcoming), as well as articles appearing or forthcoming in the American Journal of Political Science, British Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Perspectives on Politics, Comparative Political Studies, World Development, World Politics, and other journals. His past work has been recognized with awards such as the Franklin L. Burdette/Pi Sigma Alpha Award for Best Paper presented at the 2009 APSA annual meeting. He received his PhD from Yale in 2007.

Pepinsky has been active in APSA, serving as co-organizer of the Comparative Politics section for the 2017 annual meeting and organizer of the Political Economy section for the 2013 annual meeting. He also serves as a member of the steering committee for the Association for Analytical Learning on Islam and Muslim Societies (aalims.org), and is the founding president of the American Institute for Indonesian Studies and co-founder of the Southeast Asian Research Group (seareg.org). He regularly teaches courses in comparative politics, political economy, Southeast Asian politics, and research methods.

Statement of Views: In a time of great political uncertainty, APSA should play a leading role in demonstrating the value and purpose of political science. This means standing proudly for freedom of inquiry, defending critical scholarship regardless of its methods or conclusions, and supporting engaged and policy-relevant research on substantively meaningful topics. I believe that APSA can play a constructive role in public life, highlighting the links from teaching and scholarship to citizenship and service, and that this is particularly urgent when much of the public expresses skepticism towards both politics and science. I am further committed to an APSA that does not just represent the diversity of its membership, but strives to further reach out to those scholars and teachers who have been historically underrepresented in our discipline, in the U.S. and abroad.