Doctoral Student Profile


Thomas Rhoden

Comparative Politics and Political Theory

Curriculum Vitae


“Neither Refugee Nor Migrant: Comparative-Historical Analysis of Burmese Migration into Thailand.”


Expected Ph.D. Completion: May 2017

M.B.A. Global Management, Thunderbird School of Global Management

B.A., Management, Webster University

Overview of Scholarly Activity

Research and teaching interests include Southeast Asian politics, democratization, human migration, development, state regimes, and comparative politics in general. My published work has sought to redefine democratization and democratic consolidation typologies and to better understand the phenomenon of oligarchy at the national level. My current research analyzes human migration from both the perspective of forced and non-forced movements of people and these processes within the larger framework of development, particularly in mainland Southeast Asia.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

2017, “The Burmese Voter Abroad,” under review.

2017, “Against the Refugee-Migrant Binary in Migration Studies,” under review.

2016, “Yangon’s Stock Exchange in Comparative Analysis,” Journal of Burma Studies 20(1), 199–227, doi: 10.1353/jbs.2016.0000

2015, “The Liberal in Liberal Democracy,” Democratization 22(3), 560–578, doi: 10.1080/13510347.2013.851672

2015, “Oligarchy in Thailand?Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs 34(1), 3–25.

2015, “No Burmese Returning: Economics across the Myanmar-Thailand Border,” International Journal of East Asian Studies of Thammasat University 19(2), 51–70 (with D. Unger).


2018, Neither Refugee Nor Migrant: The Extraordinary Case of Burmese in Thailand, under review.

2017, Early Migration Studies: Annotated Bibliography of English-Language Research, 1850–1950, under review.

2015, Texaners: Eight Short Stories, Dallas, TX: Étoile Solitaire Press, ISBN-13: 978-0692512746.

2014, Yangon and Shwedagon Pagoda, Durham, NC: Other Places Publishing, ISBN-13: 978-1935850168.

2011, Burmese Refugees: Letters from the Thai-Burma Border, Chicago, IL: DL Press, ISBN-13: 978-0615471075 (with T. L. S. Rhoden).

Academic Blogs, News Media, & Reviews

2017, “Review of The Lost Gods of Indochine by Samuel Ferrer,” Asian Review of Books (March 1).

2017, “Review of Caretaking Democratization: The Military and Political Change in Myanmar by Renaud Egreteau,” Oxford Tea Circle (February 6) & The Irrawaddy (February 9).

2017, “Review of Trivialities About Me and Myself by Yeng Pway Ngon, Asian Review of Books (January 30).

2016, “Death of a Monarch or an Oligarch?” New Mandala (October 17).

2016, “Review of He Runs The Moon: Tales from the Cities by Wendy Brandmark,” Sabotage Reviews (October 15).

2016, “Review of Unequal Thailand: Aspects of Income, Wealth and Power edited by Pasuk Phongpaichit and Chris Baker,” Southeast Asian Studies 5(2): 350–353.

2016, “Migrant Labor Activists Plan for the 2020 Election in Myanmar,” The Diplomat (August 6).

2016, “Who Would Voters with No Votes Vote for?” New Mandala (July 21).

2016, “L'Histoire des Migrations Birmanes en Thailande Contredit l'Analyse Actuelle,” Alter Asia (April 30, trans. É. Disdet)

2016, “Millennia-Long Histories and Burmese Migrations into Thailand,” New Mandala (April 13).

2016, Review of Politics in the Moral Universe: Burmese Buddhist Political Thought, by Matthew J. Walton,” Dissertation Reviews (March 29).

Teaching Experience

“Refugees and Migrants in Southeast Asian Context,” ISEAA, Chiang Mai University (summer 2017).

“Introduction to Comparative Politics,” Parami Institute (summer 2017, proposed).

“Social Entrepreneurship & Business in Southeast Asia,” ISEAA, Chiang Mai University (summer 2017; summer 2016; spring 2016; fall 2015; summer 2015; & summer 2014).

“Southeast Asia: Crossroads of the World,” Northern Illinois University (spring 2017).

“Discover Asia: Field Program in Thailand and Burma,” Western Washing University (fall 2015).

Awards & Fellowships

2017, Graduate School Travel Grant, Graduate School at Northern Illinois University.

2017, Graduate Student Conference Travel Grant, Center for Southeast Asian Studies at Northern Illinois University.

2016, ENITS Scholarship, Project of Empowering Network for International Thai Studies (ENITS), Institute of Thai Studies, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand.


Burmese, English, German, Karen (Sgaw), Lao, & Thai.



Contact Us

Department of Political Science
Zulauf Hall 415
Phone: 815-753-1011
Fax: 815-753-6302