Professor, Department Chair Political Science & International Relations
"Students are interested in world politics more than ever, and I enjoy teaching and preparing them as a 'political junkie' myself."
Zach Abuza, Simmons professor of political science and international relations, is a renowned international expert on Southeast Asian insurgencies and a self-proclaimed "political junkie."
He became interested in this area when his father was stationed in Korea for the U.S. military in the late 1950s. Later, Abuza witnessed political regression firsthand, studying in China during the Tiananmen uprising in 1989. He lived in China for two years and formally began studying Southeast Asian politics when he returned to the U.S. for graduate school.
Abuza has traveled extensively throughout Southeast Asia and has lived in countries including Vietnam and Thailand. In the course of his research and field work on the insurgencies in Thailand and the Philippines, Abuza has witnessed much violence himself; sometimes a little too close for comfort, such as when a small bomb went off in his hotel.
At Simmons, Abuza is chair of one of the fastest-growing and largest departments. Thirteen years ago, the introductory political science course had eight students; now the class is taught three times per year with approximately 30 students in each class. "Students' interest in political science is not just a trend," says Abuza. "We are riding a wave of much more, and I don't see that interest burning out any time soon."
Abuza recently published his fourth book, Conspiracy of Silence: The Insurgency in Southern Thailand (U.S. Institute of Peace, 2009). In addition to his books, Abuza is a prolific writer of numerous articles, op-eds and blog entries. This year, he has appeared in several major media outlets, including Dan Rather Reports and interviews with Voice of America and National Public Radio.