People: Research Faculty

Pauline Jones

Faculty Associate


Faculty Associate, Center for Political Studies
Professor, Department of Political Science


Harvard University, Ph.D. with distinction (Government)
Harvard University, M.S. (Government)
UC Berkeley, B.A. with honors (Political Science and History)


Pauline Jones’s Curriculum Vitae (CV)
Pauline Jones’s Google Scholar Profile 



Pauline Jones is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Digital Islamic Studies Curriculum (DISC) a collaborative program of instruction in Global Islamic Studies across the institutions of the Big Ten Academic Alliance that provides students with a truly global perspective on Islam and the Muslim world, at the University of Michigan. Previously, she served as Director of UM’s Islamic Studies Program (2011-14) and International Institute (2014-20). Her past work has contributed broadly to the study of institutional origin, change, and impact in with an empirical focus on the former Soviet Union, primarily the five Central Asia states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Currently, she is engaged in two major research projects. One explores the influence of religion on political attitudes and behavior in Muslim majority states with an emphasis on the relationship between religious regulation, religiosity, and political mobilization. The other focuses on the identifying the factors that affect the extent to which people are complying with social distancing policies to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact that these policies are having on individuals and communities around the world.

She has published articles in several leading academic and policy journals, including the American Political Science Review, Annual Review of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, Current History, Foreign Affairs, Politics and Society, Europe-Asia Studies, and Resources Policy. She is author of five books: Institutional Change and Political Continuity in Post-Soviet Central Asia: Power, Perceptions, and Pacts (Cambridge 2002); The Transformation of Central Asia: States and Societies from Soviet Rule to Independence (Cornell 2003); Oil is not a Curse: Ownership Structure and Institutions in the Soviet Successor States (Cambridge 2010), Islam, Society, and Politics in Central Asia (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016), and most recently The Oxford Handbook on Politics in Muslim Societies (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). Her research has received generous support from several prestigious sources, including the McArthur Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Mellon Foundation, and the National Science Foundation.


University of Michigan Online Directory listing

Selected Publications

Please also see Pauline Jones’s Curriculum Vitae (CV) or Pauline Jones’s Google Scholar Profile.

The Oxford Handbook on Politics in Muslim Societies. forthcoming 2021. Oxford, UK: Oxford Univ. Press. (with Melani Cammett, Harvard Univ.)

“The International System after Trump and the Pandemic.” Current History. Global Trends Issue. January 2021. 120 (822): 3-8. (with Allen Hicken and Anil Menon)

“The Evolution of Religious Regulation in Central Asia, 1991-2018.” Central Asian Survey. December 2020. DOI: 10.1080/02634937.2020.1836477. (with Dustin Gamza)

“COVID-19 Response in Central Asia: A Cautionary Tale.” (forthcoming 2021) In Scott Greer, et al editors. Coronavirus Politics. University of Michigan Press. (with Elizabeth King)

Research Projects

RAPID: A Novel Framework & Toolkit to Measure Protest Legacies in Non-democratic States. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the project breaks new ground on the study of large-scale protest by moving beyond the question of whether protests result in regime change to analyzing the viability of state strategies in response to mass mobilization. It uses a three-person leader-follower signaling game, which enables the testing of propositions from two broad approaches in the existing literature: (1) the State-centric Approach, which draws from the literature on authoritarian state capacity and characterizes protest as a crisis that the state must address to reestablish control, and (2) the Protest Accumulation Model, drawn from social movement studies. Autocratic states can react to protest by attempting to bolster their legitimacy through institutional reform, policy change and by constructing and reconstructing narratives about the protest events and the state’s response to these events. Individuals react by accepting or rejecting state narratives to different degrees, affecting future societal protest capacity. The PIs’ leader-follower game predicts those responses. Utilizing recent mass mobilizations, the project develops a Rapid Response Toolkit to enable scholars to study protest legacies in authoritarian states, highlighting the role of information politics. The toolkit travel across protest contexts to build a comparative data set of protest legacies, defined as: state narratives about events, state policy change to respond to protest, and social attitudes and capacity for renewed protest. As mass mobilization in non-democratic countries becomes more common, an understanding of legacies is critical to predict regime durability, market disruptions, and future conflict.