Jakana Thomas

Jakana  Thomas
  • Associate Professor
  • International Relations
  • Department of Political Science


Jakana Thomas is associate professor in the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University and 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.


  • Anna O. Pechenkina and Jakana L. Thomas. 2020. “Battle Stalemates and Rebel Negotiation Attempts in Civil Wars." Security Studies.
  • Jakana L. Thomas. 2018. “Women’s Participation in Political Violence" in The Oxford Handbook of U.S. National Security, Derek S. Reveron, Nikolas K. Gvosdev, and John A. Cloud, Eds. Oxford University Press.
  • Jakana L. Thomas and Reed M. Wood. 2018. “The Social Origins of Female Fighters." Conflict Management and Peace Science 35(3):215-232.
  • Reed M. Wood and Jakana L. Thomas. 2017. “Women on the Frontline: Rebel Group Ideology and Women’s Participation in Violent Rebellion." Journal of Peace Research 54(1):31-46.
  • Jakana L. Thomas, William Reed and Scott Wolford. 2016. “The Rebel’s Credibility Dilemma" International Organization 70(3):477-511.
  • Jakana L. Thomas and Kanisha D. Bond. 2015.“Women’s Participation in Violent Political Organizations" American Political Science Review 109(3):488-506.
  • Jakana L. Thomas. 2014. “Rewarding Bad Behavior: How Governments Respond to Terrorism in Civil War" American Journal of Political Science 58(4):804-818.