Archie Brown


Emeritus Professor of Politics
Emeritus Fellow, St Antony’s College
St Antony's College

After teaching for thirty-four years at St Antony’s College, Archie Brown became Emeritus Professor of Politics at Oxford University and an Emeritus Fellow of St Antony’s from 1 October 2005. He continues to undertake an active programme of research and writing.

Professor Brown was University Lecturer in Soviet Institutions from 1971 until 1989, and from 1989 to 2005 Professor of Politics. He was Sub-Warden of St Antony’s College, 1995-97, and Director of the Russian and East European Centre (as it was then called), 1991-94 and 1998-2001. He was Director of Graduate Studies in Politics for the University from 2001 until 2003.

After studying at the London School of Economics and Political Science as an undergraduate and graduate student, Archie Brown taught at Glasgow University from 1964 to 1971. During the 1967-68 academic year he was a British Council exchange scholar at Moscow State University. He has been Visiting Professor of Political Science at Yale; the University of Connecticut; Columbia University; and the University of Texas at Austin as the holder of the Frank C. Erwin, Jr. Centennial Chair of Government. In the Fall semester of 1998 he was Distinguished Visiting Fellow of the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies, University of Notre Dame.

Archie Brown’s most recent book, The Human Factor: Gorbachev, Reagan, and Thatcher, and the End of the Cold War, was published by Oxford University Press (Oxford and New York) in Spring 2020. This book was awarded the Pushkin House Book Prize 2021 for ‘original, insightful and well-written books’ relating to Russia, published in English in any country in the world. The panel of judges was chaired by Fiona Hill who has served in three different American presidential administrations and was Senior Director for European and Russian Affairs in the US National Security Council, 2017-2019. His immediately preceding book, The Myth of the Strong Leader: Political Leadership in the Modern Age (Bodley Head, London, and Basic Books, New York, 2014) was chosen as a Book of the Year by Bill Gates (news/bill-gates-recommends-archie-browns-myth-of-the-strong-leader.html).  It was republished, with updating new Foreword as a Vintage paperback in 2018. Two of his earlier books, The Rise and Fall of Communism (Bodley Head, London, and Ecco, New York, 2009) and The Gorbachev Factor (Oxford University Press, 1996) were awarded both the W.J.M. Mackenzie Prize of the Political Studies Association for best politics book of the year and the Alec Nove Prize of the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies for best book on Russia, Communism or Post-Communism.

Professor Brown was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1991 and was Chair of the Academy’s Political Studies Section, 1999-2002. He was chosen as a founding academician of the Academy of Social Sciences in 1999, and in 2003 he was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2005 he was awarded a CMG in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list ‘for services to UK-Russian relations and to the study of political science and international affairs’. In November 2010 Archie Brown was one of three recipients of the Diamond Jubilee Lifetime Achievement in Political Studies awards made by the Political Studies Association to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the PSA.

He also received the 2015 Distinguished Contributions to Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies Award in Philadelphia in November 2015 from the largest body of scholars studying that part of the world, the US-based Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies.

Archie Brown

Research summary

Archie Brown’s principal research interests are the comparative study of political leadership, the end of the Cold War, the Gorbachev era, the evolution and dissolution of Communism, political culture, authoritarianism and democratization, and national identity.

Research interests

Political Theory, Government, Authority, Democratic theory, Democracy and Democratisation, Foreign Policy and diplomacy, History, Ideology, Public Policy, Public Sphere