University of Florida Homepage

Benjamin Smith

Department of Political Science


Phone: 352.273.2345

Office Location: 002 Anderson Hall

Areas of Specialization: ethnic and religious conflict, ethnicity, regime change, political economy, Southeast Asia/Middle East

Benjamin Smith is UF Research Foundation Professor and Associate Professor of Political Science. He received his Ph.D.from the University of Washington. Before arriving to UF he was Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. Smith’s research interests focus on ethnic and communal conflict in the post-colonial world with a focus on Southeast Asia and the Middle East, and on the politics of resource wealth. He has spent more than three years living in Indonesia and Iran. He has conducted primary research in Indonesian and Persian. He teaches courses in Political Science and International Studies with a focus on comparative and global politics. They include graduate courses in Ethnicity and Nationalism and Civil Wars, and undergraduate courses on Ethnic Conflict, Authoritarianism, Developing Nations and International Studies Perspectives.

Selected Publications


Smith, Benjamin. 2007. Hard Times in the Lands of Plenty: Oil Politics in Iran and Indonesia. (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press).
– Finalist for the 2008 Gregory Luebbert Book Award of the American Political Science Association’s Comparative Politics section.

Articles and Book Chapters

Dan Slater, Benjamin Smith and Gautam Nair, 2014. “Economic Origins of Democratic Breakdown? The Redistributive Model and the Postcolonial State.” Perspectives on Politics 12: 2, pp. 353-74.

Winner of 2009 Sage Best Paper Award of the Comparative Politics Section of the American Political Science Association

“Separatist Conflict in the Former Soviet Union and Beyond: How Different Was Communism?” 2013. World Politics, 65: 2, pp. 350-81.

Benjamin Smith and David Waldner, 2014. “Rentier States and State Transformations,” in Stephan Leibfried, Frank Nullmeier, Evelyne Huber, Matthew Lange, Jonah Levy, John Stephens eds., The Oxford Handbook of Transformations of the State. London: Oxford University Press.

Benjamin Smith, 2010. “Conclusion,” in Adam White ed. The Everyday Life of the State, Seattle: University of Washington Press, 205-18.

Benjamin Smith and Samsu Rizal Panggabean, 2011. “Explaining Anti-Chinese Riots in Late 20th Century Indonesia,” World Development 39, 2, pp. 231-42.

Sarah Howland, Matthew Schwarz, and Benjamin Smith, 2010. “Miracles and Developmental States in Proper Perspective: Corruption and Economic Growth in Africa, Asia, and Latin America,” International Journal of Politics and Good Governance, June 2010.

Benjamin Smith, 2008. “The Origins of Regional Autonomy in Indonesia: Experts and the Marketing of Political Interests,” Journal of East Asian Studies 8: 2, pp. 211-34.

Benjamin Smith: 2006. “The Wrong Kind of Crisis: Why Oil Booms and Busts Rarely Lead to Authoritarian Breakdown.” Studies in Comparative International Development, 40:4, pp. 55-76.

Benjamin Smith, 2005. “Life of the Party: The Origins of Regime Breakdown and Persistence Under Single-Party Rule.” World Politics 57:3, pp.421-51.
– Chinese translation published in Open Times 195 (2008): 89-109.
– Reprinted in Allen Hicken ed. Politics of Modern Southeast Asia, New York: Routledge, 2010 (volume III).

Benjamin Smith, 2004. “Oil Wealth and Regime Survival in the Developing World, 1960-1999.” American Journal of Political Science 48: 2 , pp. 232-46.

Benjamin Smith, 2003. “If I Do These Things They Will Throw Me Out: Economic Reform and the Collapse of Indonesia’s New Order.” Journal of International Affairs 57:1, pp. 113-128.

Benjamin Smith, 2003. “Collective Action With and Without Islam: Mobilizing the Bazaar in Iran,” in Quintan Wiktorowicz, ed. Islamic Activism: A Social Movement Theory Approach (Indianapolis: Indiana University Press).
Indonesian translation published in Aktivisme Islam: Pendekatan Teori Gerakan Sosial trans. Tim Penerjemah Paramadina. Jakarta: Balai Penelitian dan Pengembangan Agama, 2007, 235-59.

Benjamin Smith, 2013 “Resource Wealth and Political Regimes: How Solid a Link After 40 Years of Research?” APSA-CD, 11: 2:2, pp. 17-20.

Benjamin Smith, 2011. “Oil and Political Power in Southeast Asia,” in Robert Looney ed. Handbook of Oil Politics,( New York: Routledge) pp. 206-18.

Benjamin Smith, 2009. “The New Petromercantilism: Oil, Development and the State in the 21st Century,” (Brookings Institution).

Benjamin Smith, 2008. “Rethinking the Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: The Continuing Value of Cases and Comparisons,” APSA-CP 19:1 pp.16-20.

Benjamin Smith, 2006. “Oil Wealth and Regime Change,” in Michael Dauderstädt and Arne Schildberg eds., Dead Ends of Transition: Rentier Economies and Protectorates (Frankfurt and New York: Campus).