Keith Brown holds a BA in classics from the University of Oxford and an MA and PhD in anthropology from the University of Chicago. He taught at Bowdoin College and the University of Wales before joining the Watson Institute in 1999 as an assistant research professor. He has also been a senior fellow at the United States Institute of Peace and a visiting fellow at the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute, and has delivered lecture series at the University of Oxford and at the Institute for National History in Skopje, Macedonia, where he was a Fulbright fellow in 2012-13. He served as director of BIARI from 2010 to 2014.
His research focuses primarily on the Balkans, especially relations between Macedonia, Greece, and Bulgaria. More recently, he has also worked with diverse learning communities in the US military. His most recent book is Loyal Unto Death: Trust and Terror in Revolutionary Macedonia (Indiana University Press, 2013).
Keith Brown's research focuses on the social and cultural dimensions of security, development, and governance. Specific ongoing research includes work on the role of cultural competency in the conduct of international interventions, ranging from economic development to counter-insurgency; how the production, circulation and contestation of historical knowledge affects democratic politics, especially in periods of regime change; and the phenomenon of long-distance empathy or fellow-feeling – that is, when and how people come to care about or care for "distant strangers," whether on the basis of sentiments of common humanity, arguments of social justice, or aspirations to cosmopolitanism. The research is unified by an ongoing commitment to bridge the social sciences and the humanities, and is empirically based on the qualitative methods of oral history, interviews, and long-term fieldwork. Current projects, on Yugoslavia's contested democratic transition and on consumer attitudes toward the people who make and ship the products they use, involve close collaboration with colleagues in Macedonia and the UK respectively.
Friction in the Archives: On “Macedonians,” Macedonians and the Ottoman Transatlantic. Balkanistica: forthcoming.
How Trauma Travels: Oral History’s Means and Ends. In Victor Friedman and Jim Hlavac (eds.) Macedonian Matters: From the Partition and Annexation of Macedonia in 1913 to the Present. Munich: Kubon and Sagner: 65-86.
Order, Reputation and Narrative: Forms of State Violence in Late Socialist Macedonia. European History Quarterly 45(2) 295–314.
Questioning Individualism. In “Anthropology’s Contributions to Training in the Policy Professions: An Association for the Anthropology of Policy Roundtable.” Political and Legal Anthropology Review 38/2 (forthcoming).
Partial Wars. Political and Legal Anthropology Review 38/1 (May): 168-178.
Verni do Smrt: Doverbata i Terorot vo Revolucionerna Makedonija. Skopje: Foundation Open Society Macedonia ((Macedonian translation of Loyal Unto Death).
Post-Conflict Studies: An Interdisciplinary Approach. London and New York: Routledge. (Co-edited with Chip Gagnon).
Loyal Unto Death: Trust and Terror in Revolutionary Macedonia. Indiana University Press.
'Wiping out the Bulgar race:' Hatred, Duty and National Self-Fashioning in the Second Balkan War. In Omer Bartov and Eric Weitz (eds.) Shatterzone of Empires: Coexistence and Violence in the German, Habsburg, Russian and Ottoman Borderlands. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Preface. In Sašo Ordanoski et al. (eds.) Hostage Democracy: The Development of the Media Ownership Structure in the Republic of Macedonia. Transparency-Macedonia: Skopje, 9-15.
Everywhere and Everthrough: Rethinking Aidland. In Heather Hindman and Anne-Meike Fechter (eds.) Inside the Everyday Lives of Development Workers: The Challenges and Futures of Aidland. Stylus/Kumarian Press, 107-130.
From the Balkans to Baghdad (via Baltimore): Labor Migration and the Routes of Empire. Slavic Review 69/4 (December): 816-839.
POLS 1490 Building a Better World: Film and Social Change (Co-taught with Richard Locke)
INTL 1802g: Reading Global: International Relations Through Fiction.
May 29, 2014
In an interview with leading Greek newspaper To Vima, Keith Brown points to the attention garnered by the stabbing of a Macedonian teenager by an Albanian thief and the subsequent street protests in Skopje, Macedonia. The underlying problems of crime, elite corruption, and the erosion of trust in democratic process, Brown says, often pass unnoticed in international coverage which focuses on high-profile cases of "ethnic" violence.
January 29, 2013
Keith Brown, currently a Fulbright scholar in the Republic of Macedonia, was featured last week on Zevzekmanija, a weekly television news magazine there. Brown spoke frankly about citizens' disappointment in the country's progress, and his own surprise to find that the issues which dominated the national conversation during his doctoral research there 20 years ago remain unresolved. Watch the segment — in Macedonian — on YouTube.
January 22, 2013
Keith Brown, currently a Fulbright Scholar in the Republic of Macedonia, writes in GlobalPost that despite a violent Christmas Eve altercation in parliament there, deep wells of civility and democracy endure. The peaceful protest and debate Brown has observed over the past weeks remind him of the call for non-violence issued by Martin Luther King, Jr. in his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," a treatise gaining attention — and recently translated — in an increasingly fraught Republic of Macedonia.
December 3, 2012
Keith Brown, who is currently a Fulbright Scholar in Skopje, capital city of the Republic of Macedonia, was recently interviewed in one of the country's leading weekly news magazines. He answered questions about his long-time interest in Macedonian history, his current research into Macedonia's democratic transition, and his impressions of the current phenomenon of "antiquization," which is reshaping Skopje's urban and political landscape.
October 22, 2012
Keith Brown, professor (research) at the Institute, is currently working in Skopje, the capital of the Republic of Macedonia, to collect new oral histories and analyze the politics of dissidence in the country. Professor Brown, whose fieldwork this semester is supported by a Fulbright US Scholar grant, will give a series of presentations on the subject over the coming months.
June 1, 2012
Keith Brown, Associate Research Professor at the Institute, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to conduct research and graduate training at the Institute for National History in the Republic of Macedonia during the 2012-13 academic year. He is one of approximately 1,100 US faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright US Scholar program in 2012-13.
Professor Brown will collaborate with Macedonian historians to conduct new oral history research on the recent Macedonian past, and analyze the politics of dissidence and their impact on the country's democratic culture from the 1980s to the present. This project builds on his earlier work, now available in Macedonian, on the role of history in Balkan politics, as well as his more recent research on the challenges of international democracy promotion in post-socialist Eastern Europe.
Mar 17, 2015
A discussion prompted by James Fallows’ "The Tragedy of the American Military"
2 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Joukowsky Forum
Sep 24, 2013
A book panel with author Omer Bartov.
5 p.m. Joukowsky Forum
Watson Book Panel