A&S govt. prof. named international faculty fellow

The Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies has announced two new international faculty fellows for 2016-19:Rachel Bezner Kerr, associate professor of development sociology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Thomas Pepinsky, associate professor of government in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“Both Rachel and Tom will contribute immensely to the center’s new initiatives,” says Hirokazu Miyazaki, director of the Einaudi Center. “I believe that the center will benefit a great deal from Rachel’s deeply interdisciplinary work on food and nutrition security, and I look forward to collaborating with her in our effort to address global sustainability issues. And Tom plays an important role in the Southeast Asia Program, one of the center’s core programs. He is also working closely with other faculty and me to build our new digital platform for global collaboration and research dissemination.”

Bezner Kerr’s research looks at sustainable agriculture, food security, health, nutrition and social inequalities, with a primary focus on southern Africa. She hopes to arrive at a deeper understanding of the historical, political, economic and social dimensions of agricultural practices and policies in southern Africa – with the goal of improving nutrition, food security and soil management in the region.

Bezner Kerr, Ph.D. ’06 in the field of development sociology, joined the Cornell faculty in 2012. She also holds a master’s degree in land resource sciences from the University of Guelph (1998) and a bachelor’s degree in cooperative international development from the University of Toronto (1996).

“It is an honor to be awarded the International Faculty Fellowship, as it recognizes the long-term work that I have carried out to promote sustainable food systems in Malawi,” said Bezner Kerr. “Throughout my academic career I have pursued this international effort, sometimes without active support or recognition of the importance of such work from others, and it is wonderful to have this recognition now.”

Pepinsky’s research highlights the links between international politics and domestic politics, especially how international affairs affect the domestic politics of so-called “developing countries.” He has a particular interest in how global affairs shape the politics of Southeast Asia, a part of the world, he says, that is too often considered marginal or unimportant by Western academic audiences and policymakers.

Pepinsky joined the Cornell faculty in 2008; he earned a Ph.D. with distinction in political science from Yale University (2007) and a bachelor’s degree in linguistics and international relations from Brown University (2001).

“For researchers like me, IFF resources are irreplaceable,” said Pepinsky. “The fellowship enables me to explore the kind of basic research that has historically been the cornerstone of international studies at Cornell. It makes the work that I wish to do possible.”

The International Faculty Fellowship program, a centerpiece of the Global Cornell initiative, aims to support the international engagement of Cornell faculty. Nominated by the deans of their respective colleges, international faculty fellows are selected by the Einaudi Center on the basis of their internationally focused research, teaching and scholarly achievements. Since 2014 10 fellows have been appointed and are now serving three-year terms.

This article also appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.

More News from A&S

 Thomas Pepinsky