Nathan J. Brown

Nathan Brown

Nathan J. Brown

Professor of Political Science and International Affairs

Full-time Faculty


Office Phone: 202-994-2123
Fax: 202-994-5477
The Elliott School of International Affairs Foggy Bottom Campus Monroe Hall 469 Washington DC 20052

Nathan Brown received his B.A. in political science from the University of Chicago and his M.A. and Ph.D. in politics and Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University. He teaches courses on Middle Eastern politics as well as more general courses on comparative politics and international relations.

He received the Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Award for Scholarship from George Washington University in 2015 and the Harry Harding teaching award from the Elliott School of International Affairs in 2014. His dissertation received the Malcolm Kerr award from the Middle East Studies Association in 1987.

In 2013-2015, Dr. Brown was president of the Middle East Studies Association, the academic association for scholars studying the region. In 2013, he was named a Guggenheim Fellow; four years earlier, he was named a Carnegie Scholar by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. For the 2009–2010 academic year, he was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.  His previous research was funded by the United States Institute of Peace and two Fulbright fellowships. For the 2023-24 academic year, he is a fellow at the Hamburg Institute for Advance Study in Germany.

In addition to his academic work, Brown serves on the board of trustees at the American University in Cairo. He is also nonresident senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.  He has previously served as an advisor for the committee drafting the Palestinian constitution, USAID, the United Nations Development Program, and several NGOs. 

Comparative politics of the Middle East, democratization and authoritarianism, religion and politics, constitutionalism and rule of law in the Arab world

Professor Brown is currently writing a book on state religious institutions throughout the world.

Ph.D., Princeton University

IAFF 2040  The Middle East: An International Affairs Survey 

PSC 2377 Comparative Politics of the Middle East

PSC 6377 Comparative Politics of the Middle East

PSC 8334 Democracy and Democratization in Comparative Perspective

Authoritarianism from the Inside Out (with Steven D. Schaaf, Samer Anabtawi, and Julian Waller), University of Michigan Press, forthcoming 2024.

Lumbering State, Restless Society: Egypt in the Modern Era (with Shimaa Hatab and Amr Adly), Columbia University Press, 2021

Brown, Nathan J., Arguing Islam after the Revival of Arab Politics, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.

Brown, Nathan J., When Victory Is Not an Option: Islamist Movements in Arab Politics. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2012.

Brown, Nathan J., ed. The Dynamics of Democratization: Dictatorship, Development, and Diffusion. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012.

Brown, Nathan J., Palestinian Politics After the Oslo Accords: Resuming Arab Palestine. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003.

Brown, Nathan J., Constitutions in a Non-Constitutional World: Arab Basic Laws and the Prospects for Accountable Government. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2001.

Brown, Nathan J., The Rule of Law in the Arab World: Courts in Egypt and the Gulf . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.