Archie Brown

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For the Calvinistic Baptist minister, see Archibald G. Brown. For the Welsh rugby player, see Archie Brown (rugby). For the British racing driver, see Archie Scott Brown.

Archibald Haworth Brown CMG, FBA commonly known as Archie Brown (born 10 May 1938), is a British political scientist and historian. In 2005, he became an emeritus professor of politics at the University of Oxford and an emeritus fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford, where he was a professor of politics and director of St Antony's Russian and East European Centre. He has written widely on Soviet and Russian politics, Communist politics more generally, the Cold War, and political leadership.

Brown was born in Annan, Scotland, and educated at Annan Academy and Dumfries Academy, before studying at both undergraduate and postgraduate level at the London School of Economics (LSE). He taught at the University of Glasgow from 1964 to 1971, during which time he was a British Council exchange scholar at Moscow State University for a year between 1967 and 1968.[1]

He has been a visiting professor at Yale University, the University of Connecticut and Columbia University. He was also a visiting professor and holder of the Frank C. Erwin, Jr. Centennial Chair of Government at the University of Texas, Austin. In addition, in 1998 he was a distinguished visiting fellow of the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame.[1]

At Oxford University, Brown was university lecturer in Soviet institutions from 1971 until 1989 when he became professor of politics. He held that position from 1989 to 2005. Concurrently, he was a sub-warden of St Antony's College between 1995 and 1997 and director of the Russian and East European Centre twice (from 1991 to 1994, and again from 1998 to 2001). He was director of graduate studies in politics for Oxford University between 2001 and 2003.[1]

Elected a fellow of the British Academy in 1991, Brown was chair of the Academy's Political Studies Section from 1999 to 2002. In 1999 he was chosen as a founding member of the Academy of Social Sciences, before being elected as a foreign honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003. He was appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in 2005 "for services to UK-Russian relations and to the study of political science and international affairs".[1] In 2010 he was one of three scholars to receive the Diamond Jubilee Award for Lifetime Achievement in Political Studies. The award was made by the Political Studies Association of the UK to mark the sixtieth anniversary of its foundation. In 2015 he received the Distinguished Contributions to Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies Award from ASEEES at their annual convention in Philadelphia.

Brown has written and edited numerous books on Soviet and Communist politics, and his articles have embraced a wide range of subjects, including the end of the Cold War, British politics, post-Soviet Russian politics, political leadership, political culture, and 18th century political and social thought. Two of his major books deal with the Soviet perestroika and the role of Mikhail Gorbachev in the transformation of the Soviet system and the ending of the Cold War. They focus on both the power of ideas and the power of institutions, putting Gorbachev's innovative leadership in its political context. For the first of these books, The Gorbachev Factor (1996), Brown was awarded the W.J.M. Mackenzie Prize of the Political Studies Association of the UK for "best political science book of the year". That book also shared the Alec Nove Prize of the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies for "best book or article in any discipline on Russia, Communism or Postcommunism". In a more recent work, Seven Years that Changed the World: Perestroika in Perspective (2007; paperback 2008), Brown returned to these themes, making use of new and extensive archival material, including the records of Soviet Politburo meetings.

Archie Brown’s book, The Rise and Fall of Communism (2009; UK paperback 2010; US paperback 2011) is concerned with Communism worldwide – from its 19th-century origins to the fall of Communism in Europe in 1989 and its adaptation and mutation in China. This book earned Brown the 2010 Mackenzie Prize of the Political Studies Association, making him the recipient of “best political science book of the year” award for a second time. It also won the Nove Prize awarded by the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies. In addition to its American, British and Canadian editions, the work has been published in translation in nine other countries.

More recently Brown has published a still broader comparative-historical book – on political leadership worldwide since the dawn of the 20th century – The Myth of the Strong Leader: Political Leadership in the Modern Age (2014; paperback, 2015). It was named by Bill Gates as one of the five best books he read in 2016.


See also[edit]

  • 'Archie Brown' in Pravda, A. (ed.), Leading Russia. Putin in Perspective: Essays in Honour of Archie Brown, 2005 (Oxford University Press), ISBN 0-19-927614-5
  • Stephen Whitefield (ed.), Political Culture and Post-Communism, 2005 (Palgrave Macmillan), ISBN 1-4039-4520-9
  • Julie Newton and William Tompson (eds), Institutions, Ideas and Leadership in Russian Politics, 2010 (Palgrave Macmillan), ISBN 978-0-230-55147-3



External links[edit]

  • Interview on The Rise and Fall of Communism at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library