Jason Kirk

Associate Professor of Political Science and Policy Studies
Gray Pavilion - Pol. Science 210D
2333 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244
jkirk2@elon.edu (336) 278-6633

Brief Biography

I joined the Elon faculty in 2008, returning home to North Carolina after completing a Ph.D. in political science at the University of Pennsylvania (1999-2005) and teaching at the Virginia Military Institute (2006-8).

I was born in Chapel Hill, grew up in Charlotte, and attended the University of North Carolina (1993-97). As an undergraduate intending to pursue a photojournalism career, I developed an interest in India and spent a semester in Bangalore in 1996. It was an extraordinary time to experience this city, still early in its emergence at the center of India's information technology revolution. Curious about the social dimensions of rapid urbanization, I studied and photographed a rural migrant community just outside Bangalore -- developing academic interests that eventually led me away from photography. I was also fortunate to be able to see much of India, from Calcutta to Darjeeling and from Delhi to Jaipur, and to visit Nepal before the most dangerous years of its civil war. After graduating from UNC with a B.A. in Journalism & International Studies, I joined Teach for America in Washington, D.C., where I taught English as a Second Language to 5th grade public schoolchildren from immigrant families. This experience, and other aspects of living in the nation's capital, deepened my interests in international issues.

The surprise nuclear tests by India and Pakistan in May 1998 (and a token of advice from my favorite journalist, Steve Coll) sealed my intent to pursue graduate studies focusing on contemporary India and South Asia. My dissertation at Penn, on the evolution of World Bank assistance to India, was based on fieldwork in Bangalore, Hyderabad, New Delhi and Washington. This study, and further fieldwork in 2007-8, laid the foundation for my book India and the World Bank: The Politics of Aid and Influence (London, New York and Delhi: Anthem Press, 2011, 2010). I also research topics in South Asian security; as a child of the late Cold War, I have a particular interest in nuclear proliferation and deterrence.

I live in Chapel Hill with my wife Deepa, a clinical endocrinologist at UNC, and our children Arun (b. 2002) and Uma (b. 2006). I am an avid reader, runner, and watcher of Tar Heel basketball. I enjoy rock and Americana music, and I'm always eager for suggestions about songs with political themes to play before class begins.


University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1999-2005
Ph.D., political science with major fields in comparative politics and international relations
Dissertation: “The World Bank and the Federal Politics of Economic Reform in India:
  Structural Adjustment Lending Goes Sub-national”
Committee: Thomas Callaghy (Chair), Francine Frankel, and Rudra Sil.

Advanced Hindi Language Program, American Institute of Indian Studies, Udaipur, Rajasthan, Summer 2001

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1993-97
BA with Distinction in Journalism and Mass Communication (photojournalism concentration), second major in International Studies. India Study Abroad Program, Bangalore University, Fall 1996

Employment History

Assistant Professor, Political Science and International Studies, Elon University, 2008-present
Assistant Professor, Political Science and International Studies, Virginia Military Institute, 2006-08
Lecturer and Academic Advisor, International Relations Program, University of Pennsylvania, 2005-6
Research Specialist, Center for the Advanced Study of India (CASI), University of Pennsylvania, 2004-5
Graduate Teaching Assistant, Political Science Department, University of Pennsylvania, 2000-04

Teach for America, Washington, D.C., 1997-9

Courses Taught

•    Comparative Politics, Spring 2009
•    Comparative Politics Through World Film, Winter 2011
•    Elon College Fellows Sophomore Seminar (team-taught; interdisciplinary), Fall 2009
•    India, Pakistan and South Asia: Politics and International Relations, Spring 2010, 2009
•    International Security, Fall 2009, 2008
•    International Relations, Fall 2010, Spring 2010, Fall 2009, 2008

Courses in Preparation:
•    Geopolitics
•    International Organization
•    Senior Seminar in Political Science: International Relations


Comparative Politics: political economy of development; democracy; parties; federalism; nationalism and identity politics.  International Relations: North-South international political economy; Asian security and international relations; deterrence theory and nuclear proliferation; international organizations; comparative foreign policy; neoclassical realism.  Country specialization: India

Current Projects

I am currently working with Moeed Yusuf at the United States Institute of Peace on a paper entitled "Keeping an Eye on South Asian Skies: Washington's Pivotal Deterrence in Nuclearized India-Pakistan Crises, 1999-2008."

I am also beginning research for a new book project, analyzing the rising political influence of the Indian American community in the United States. This builds on my earlier article, “Indian-Americans and the U.S.-India Nuclear Agreement: Consolidation of an Ethnic Lobby?” in Foreign Policy Analysis (July 2008).

Grants Awarded

•    Hultquist Stipend and Faculty Research and Development Award, Elon University, 2008
•    Grant-in-Aid for Summer Research, Virginia Military Institute, 2007
•    Dean’s Scholar Award, School of Arts & Sciences, University of Pennsylvania, 2005
•    School of Arts & Sciences Dissertation Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania, 2003-04
•    Christopher H. Browne Center for International Politics Summer Research Grant, University of
       Pennsylvania, 2003
•    Political Science Department Summer Research Grant, University of Pennsylvania, 2003
•    David L. Boren Graduate Fellowship (for study in India and related coursework), National
       Security Education Program and Academy for Educational Development, 2001-02
•    Eugene L. Roberts Prize, UNC School of Journalism and The Philadelphia Inquirer, 1996



India and the World Bank: The Politics of Aid and Influence. London, New York and Delhi: Anthem Press, 2011, 2010. http://www.anthempress.com/index.php/subject-areas/books-0/area-studies/south-asian-studies/india-and-the-world-bank.html

Peer-Reviewed Articles, Chapters in Edited Volumes, and Reviews

“India’s Season of Discontent: U.S.-India Relations through the Prism of Obama’s ‘Af-Pak’ Policy, Year One,” Asian Affairs: An American Review, Vol. 37, No. 3 (September 2010): 147-66.

“India’s Economy,” John Adams and Jason A. Kirk, in Neil DeVotta, ed., Understanding Contemporary India, 2nd edition (Boulder, CO: Lynne Reinner Publishers, 2010).

“The Evolution of India’s Nuclear Policies,” in Sumit Ganguly, ed., Indian Foreign Policy: Retrospect and Prospect (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2010).

“Indian-Americans and the U.S.-India Nuclear Agreement: Consolidation of an Ethnic Lobby?” Foreign Policy Analysis, Vol. 4, Issue 3 (July 2008), 275-300.

"Review Essay: Hindu Nationalism Five Years After Godhra," India Review, Vol. 7, No. 1 (January 2008), 73-90.

“Economic Reform, Federal Politics, and External Assistance: Understanding New Delhi’s Perspective on the World Bank’s State-level Loans,” in Rahul Mukherji, ed., India’s Economic Transition: The Politics of Reforms (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2007), 265-299.

“Banking on India’s States: The Politics of World Bank Reform Programs in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka,” India Review, Vol. 4, No. 3-4 (July-Oct 2005), 287-325.


"India's Painful End-of-Aid Graduation," The Business Standard (Indian financial daily), April 11, 2010.


Academic Conferences

"Student Perceptions of a Role-Playing Simulation in an Introductory International Relations Course," with Sean Giovanello and Mileah Kromer. Paper presented at the Teaching & Learning Conference of the American Political Science Association (APSA), Albuquerque, NM, February 2011.

"A Durable ‘Strategic Partnership’?: India’s Outlook on U.S. Policy in South Asia Under Obama.”  Paper presented at the 51st Annual Convention of the International Studies Association (ISA), New Orleans, February 2010.

“A Bittersweet ‘Graduation’ From Aid: Can the World Bank Hold on to India, and Will India Let It?”  Paper presentation.  Also Chair, panel on International Relations: Global Issues, IPE, and Human Rights.  80th Annual Conference of the Southern Political Science Association (SPSA), New Orleans, January 2009.

“From ‘Tilt’ to ‘Pivot’? U.S. Intervention in India-Pakistan Crises and Implications for Deterrence
Theory.” Paper presentation.  Also Chair and Discussant, panel on Indo-Pakistani Rivalry: Social
Construction of Conflict
. 49th Annual Convention of the International Studies Association (ISA),
San Francisco, March 2008.

“Indian-Americans and the U.S.-India Nuclear Agreement: Consolidation of an Ethnic Lobby?”
Paper presented at the 65th Annual National Conference of the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA), Chicago, April 2007.

“Banking on India’s States: The Politics of World Bank Reform Programs in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.”  Paper presentation.  Also Discussant, panel on Governance, Accountability, and International Organizations. 46th Annual Convention of the International Studies Association (ISA), Honolulu, March 2005.

“India’s Evolving Relationship with the World Bank: Structural Adjustment Goes Sub-national.”  
Paper presented at 100th meeting of American Political Science Association (APSA), Chicago, September 2004.

“Development Aid, Structural Adjustment, and Federal Politics in India: World Bank Lending Goes Sub-national.”  Paper presented at the Third Annual East-West Center International Graduate Student Conference, Addressing Development Issues in Asia-Pacific, East-West Center, University of Hawai‘i, Honolulu, February 2004.

“Structural Adjustment Lending Goes Sub-national: The World Bank, Economic Reform and Federal Politics in India.”  Paper presentation.  Also Discussant, panel on “Conflict and Transformation in Asia.” Annual meeting of the Northeastern Political Science Association (NEPSA) and International Studies Association-Northeast, Philadelphia, November 2003.
“Lending to Sub-national Governments in a Federal State: The World Bank’s New Approach in India.”  Paper presented at conference on Political Minorities and Political Boundaries: The Evolving Challenges to Democracy, Equity, and Freedom, Yale University, New Haven, May 2002.

Invited Talks and Commentary

Guest analyst, "Why Not a Nuclear Deal for Pakistan?," The Platform, cable news program in Pakistan, co-production of Express 24/7, Islamabad, and Voice of America, Washington, D.C., August 17, 2010.

Featured guest, “India and the World Bank,”The State of Things, Frank Stasio and Lindsey Thomas, producers, WUNC North Carolina Public Radio, Durham, June 30, 2010. http://wunc.org/tsot/archive/sot0630b10.mp3/view

“The World Bank and India,” invited talk with discussant N. Roberto Zagha, Country Director for India, and moderator Vikram Raghavan, Senior Legal Counsel, the World Bank, sponsored by the World Bank-IMF India Club and South Asia Region, Washington, D.C., April 22, 2010.

“The Evolution of India’s Nuclear Policies: The Long and Winding Road.”  Draft chapter presented at contributors’ conference for Sumit Ganguly, ed., Indian Foreign Policy: Retrospect and Prospect, Indiana University, Bloomington, October 2008.

Professional Activities

•    Reviews Editor, Asian Security (a Taylor & Francis Group journal), 2007-present
•    External Reviewer for CQ Press, 2010; Continuum Press, 2010; Cambridge University Press, 2009; Foreign Policy Analysis, 2010, 2007; India Review, 2008, 2007; American Journal of Political Science, 2005
•    Award Selection Panelist, David L. Boren Graduate Fellowships, National Security Education Program
(NSEP) and Institute of International Education (IIE), 2011, 2007, 2006

Service Activities

Asian Studies Advisory Board, Elon College of Arts & Sciences
Graduate Council, Elon University, 2009-11

Professional Development

Member: American Political Science Association, International Studies Association