About Me

jacob_headshot_a

I am an Assistant Teaching Professor of Political Science at Pennsylvania State University, the Behrend College. My sub-fields are Comparative Politics and International Relations, and I focus on conflict processes, social movements, and government corruption & dysfunction. I focus primarily on African politics and have worked and conducted research in Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, and South Africa. I work in both French and English. I hold a PhD from the University of Maryland, where I worked with John McCauley and Mark Lichbach.

My book project examines why anti-corruption movements in Africa’s third wave of protest have sometimes adopted reformative measures and other times adopted revolutionary measures. I argue that they are structured by different types of corruption. I develop a typology of African social movements and examine how different types of corruption shape the likelihood of one form of contentious mobilization over another. The dissertation includes field surveys conducted in Nigeria and South Africa, geostatistical analysis of contentious events in Nigeria and Kenya, and statistical analysis of survey-level data across Africa.

In the field of international development, I have worked as an Anti-Corruption Specialist and Program Manager with Management Systems International and Associates in Rural Development in Washington, DC, specializing in programs in democratic rule of law and post-conflict stabilization in Sub-Saharan Africa and Afghanistan. Recently, I helped to manage an Africa-oriented governance program at Global Integrity, and served as a Research Fellow with the Center for Open Data Enterprise.