MSU PLS bids farewell to Drs. Jakana Thomas and Benjamin Appel

May 6, 2021

Associate Professors Jakana Thomas and Benjamin Appel have accepted positions at the University of California-San Diego. We wish them the very best!

"We are sad to see Professors Appel and Thomas go, but we want to recognize and thank them for their contributions to the Department," said MSU PLS Chair Corwin Smidt.

"Since they came here in the Fall of 2012, they have been devoted builders and supporters of our International Relations community through their administration of the Workshop on Conflict. They shined in their research contributions and have been tireless and devoted mentors for, and teachers of, our students. This Department has benefited immensely from their time here."

Dr. Thomas is a faculty affiliate of the Center for Gender in the Global Context.  Her research focuses on political violence with an emphasis on the behavior of violent political actors. Her recent projects examine women’s participation in rebel and terrorist organizations, how violence influences conflict resolution, the correlates of terrorist lethality and the determinants of successful peace processes. Her research has been published in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, International Organization, Journal of Peace Research, Security Studies and Conflict Management and Peace Science. Thomas was recently awarded a Presidential Visiting Scholars Fellowship from Princeton University for the 2020-2021 academic year. She earned her Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University in 2012 and a B.A. from the University of Maryland Baltimore County in 2007.

Dr. Appel received his PhD from the University of Maryland in 2012. His research and teaching interests include world politics, conflict processes, international law and institutions, and research design and statistical issues. His primary research agenda is on how international law on the use of force influences the behavior of leaders in international crises.He has other work on international law and the peaceful resolution of territorial disputes, transitional justice institutions and the reoccurrence of civil conflict, third party coercion and compliance with the laws of war, information problems and the dynamics of conflict escalation, and the duration and termination of genocide and high-repression spells. He has published articles in the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science,International Studies Quarterly, and the Journal of Peace Research.