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Thomas S. Pearson, Ph.D.


History and Anthropology
Howard Hall
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Thomas S. Pearson, Ph.D.

Thomas Pearson is Professor of History in the Department of History and Anthropology at Monmouth University.  He returned to the Department in 2015 after serving as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Monmouth University from 1992 to 2014 and being on sabbatical in 2014-2015. 

Dr. Pearson received his B.A. in History magna cum laude from Santa Clara University in 1971, his M.A. in Russian History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1973, and his Ph.D. in Russian History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1977.  In 1975-1976 he was an International Research and Exchange Board (IREX) scholar in the USSR and he has returned to Russia many times since then to conduct research and lead tours.  In 1988 he received Monmouth College’s Distinguished Teaching Award and in 1989 he received a New Jersey State Faculty Recognition Award. 

At Monmouth he teaches courses in Russian History, East Central Europe, Modern Europe, and Western Civilization in World Perspective.  He has authored or co-authored numerous articles, encyclopedia entries and reviews on Russian history and is the author of the book Russian Officialdom in CrisisAutocracy and Local Self-Government, 1861-1900, a co-author of A History of Modern Russia, and founder and director of the University’s annual World Cinema Series (formerly Provost Film Series) since 2008.

His current research focuses on the life and career of Count M. T. Loris-Melikov and the significance of his reforms for the Russian Empire; and the control of the Russian land captains over the peasant villages from 1890-1917. 


Ph.D., University of North Carolina

M.A., University of North Carolina

B.A., Santa Clara University

Research Interests

Politics and leadership in Russian and Soviet history; the Russian autocracy and the development of local self-government, 1801-1917; the law and state control in Imperial Russia; and the military and administrative career of Count M. T. Loris-Melikov.



Book cover of “Modern Russian History: The Search for National Identity and Global Power” (San Diego: Cognella Academic Publishing, 2020)

“Modern Russian History: The Search for National Identity and Global Power” (San Diego: Cognella Academic Publishing, 2020)

Book Chapters

Pearson, Thomas S. “The Erosion of Democracy in Post-Soviet Russia: A Model for Eurasia” in Democracy in Crisis: World Regional Perspectives, ed. Saliba Sarsar and Rekha Datta.

Pearson, Thomas S. “The Great Reforms: An Interpretive Essay,” Events That Changed Russia since  1855 , ed. Frank W. Thackeray (Westport, CT:Greenwood Press, 2007), pp. 7-21.

Pearson, Thomas S. “Ministerial Conflict and the Politics of Zemstvo Reform, 1864-1905.” The Politics of Local Government in Russia , ed. Alfred Evans and Vladimir Gel’man. Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield, Inc., 2004), pp. 45-67.

Pearson, Thomas S. “The Failure of Reform,” Major Problems in the History of  Imperial Russia ,” ed. James Cracraft (Lexington, MA: D. C. Heath, 1994), pp. 370-

Scholarly Articles

Porter, Thomas and Thomas Pearson. “Historical Legacies and Democratic Prospects: The Emergence of a Civil Society in Twentieth-Century Russia.” The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review. Special Issue: Plus Ca La Change, Plus Ca La Meme Chose?   Vol. 23, no. 1 (1996): 51-66.

Pearson, Thomas S.  “Imperial Legacies and Democratic Prospects: Max Weber’s The Russian Revolutions  in Historical Perspective, ” International Journal of  Politics, Culture and Society . Vol. 9, no. 4 (1996): 553-568.

Pearson, Thomas S.  “Russian Law and Rural Justice: Activity and Problems of The Russian Justices of the Peace, 1865-1889,” Jahrbuecher Fuer Geschichte Osteuropas . Vol. 32, no. 1 (1984): 52-71.

Pearson, Thomas S.  “The Origins of Alexander III’s Land Captains: A Reinterpretation.”  Slavic Review . Vol. 40, no. 3 (Fall 1981): 383-403.

Book Reviews (since 2000):

Terror and Greatness: Ivan and Peter as Russian Myths . By Kevin M. F. Platt. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2011. Pp. xi, 294. In: The Historian , vol. 74, No. 4 (2012): 884-885.

The Romanovs: Ruling Russia 1613-1917 . By Lindsey Hughes. London:Hambledon Continuum, 2008, Pp. xviii, 308. In: The Historian , vol. 72, no. 3 (2010): 693-695.

Ruling Russia: Law, Crime, and Justice in a Changing Society . Edited by WilliamAlex Pridemore. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2005. Pp. xii, 325. In: International Criminal Justice Review , vol. 17 (March 2007): 77-

Book reviews and encyclopedia entries published before 2000 are listed on Pearson’s c.v.

Presentations/Invited Talks

Pearson, Thomas S. “Russian Theater: Politics and the New Media under Vladimir Putin,” invited address presented at the History and Anthropology Honors inductions at Monmouth University, April 25, 2015.

Pearson, Thomas S. “Private Higher Education in the U.S.” Presentation made at University of Science and Technology, Nanjing, China, September 23, 2013.

Pearson, Thomas S. “Welcome Remarks to the 17 th International Consortium on Social Development on behalf of Monmouth University, the American Co-Host Institution.” Presentation made at ICSD Conference in Dhaka, Bangladesh, January 3, 2011.

Pearson, Thomas S. Chair of Roundtable on “The Zemstvos as a Vehicle for Social, Economic and Political Change in Provincial Russia” at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies in November 1996 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Pearson, Thomas S. Chair of Panel on “Visions of Reform in Late Imperial Russia,” for the 110 th annual meeting of the American Historical Association, Chicago, Illinois, on January 8, 1995.

“The Russian Economy and Banking System: The Historical Perspective.” Invited Talk for the Saturday Business Seminar on “The Russian Banking System in Transition,” May 7, 1994, at Monmouth College.  Co-panelist was Professor Sergei Plotnikov from the Moscow State Institute on International Relations, Whom I arranged to bring to Monmouth as Visiting Foreign Scholar, Spring 1994.

Pearson, Thomas S. “Ministerial Conflict and the Politics of Zemstvo Reform,1864-1905.” Paper presented at the 106 th  annual convention of the American Historical Association in Chicago, Illinois, on December 29, 1991.

For a full listing of scholarly presentations/invited talks/ publications, including talks for the World Cinema Series, see Pearson’s c.v.


Count M. T. Loris-Melikov, Russia’s Dictator of the Heart,” 1825-1888. (Book).

National edition of A History of Modern Russia (2020), co-authored with Roxanne Easley and Mark David Kuss.

Article: “Russian Bureaucratization and Village Politics in Russia: The Work of the Land Captains, 1890-1914.”

Professional Associations

American Historical Association

Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies (formerly AAASS)


2014-MU Board of Trustees Resolution of Commendation for leadership as Provost/VPAA, 1992-2014

2014-MU Faculty Council Resolution of Commendation for leadership as Provost/VPAA, 1992-2014

2012-MU Global Understanding Leadership Award

2010-MU Freshman and First Year Seminars Anchor Award

1992-History Department Service Award (for leadership as Department Chair, 1981-1992

1989-New Jersey State Faculty Recognition Award

1988-Distinguished Teaching Award, Monmouth College

1975-1976 IREX Fellow (young faculty/graduate student) to the USSR