Nathan J. Brown

Nonresident Senior Fellow
Middle East Program

Brown, a professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, is a distinguished scholar and author of six well-received books on Arab politics.

Nathan J. Brown, a professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, is a distinguished scholar and author of six well-received books on Arab politics. Brown brings his special expertise on Islamist movements, Egyptian politics, Palestinian politics, and Arab law and constitutionalism to Carnegie. Brown’s latest book, Arguing Islam After the Revival of Arab Politics, was published by Oxford University Press in 2016, and his previous book, When Victory Is Not an Option: Islamist Movements in Arab Politics, was published by Cornell University Press in early 2012. His current work focuses on religion, law, and politics in the Arab world.

In 2013, Brown 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. In addition to his academic work, Brown serves on the Middle East and North Africa advisory committee for Human Rights Watch and the board of trustees at the American University in Cairo. He has previously served as an advisor for the committee drafting the Palestinian constitution, USAID, the United Nations Development Program, and several NGOs. For 2013-2015 he is president of the Middle East Studies Association, the academic association for scholars studying the region.

Brown is the author of Between Religion and Politics (with Amr Hamzawy, Carnegie 2010); Resuming Arab Palestine (University of California Press, 2003); Constitutions in a Non-Constitutional World: Arab Basic Laws and Prospects for Accountable Government (SUNY Press, 2001); and The Rule of Law in the Arab World: Courts in Egypt and the Arab States of the Gulf (Cambridge University Press, 1997). He also edited The Dynamics of Democratization  (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012).

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  • A False Road to Statehood
    • August 22, 2018

    A False Road to Statehood

    Good governance is no longer seen as being closely tied to the establishment of Palestine.

  • Full Court Press
    • January 08, 2018

    Full Court Press

    The Saudi regime is reshaping the country’s legal sector in profound ways.

  • A Walk on the Wild Side?
    • November 20, 2017

    A Walk on the Wild Side?

    Egypt’s education minister, Tariq Shawqi, may be showing more initiative than is good for him.

  • All in the Family
    • September 06, 2017

    All in the Family

    The Gulf states have yet to find a solution to the prickly matter of royal succession.

  • The Battle Over Al-Azhar
    • May 31, 2017

    The Battle Over Al-Azhar

    The effort to curb the Islamic institution’s autonomy has stalled, for now.

  • A Dispensable Dictator?
    • May 05, 2017

    A Dispensable Dictator?

    Egypt’s president may be all-powerful, but he still has to contend with an unruly state.

  • Divorce, Egyptian Style
    • February 15, 2017

    Divorce, Egyptian Style

    Why is a marriage question dividing Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and Sheikh Ahmad al-Tayyib?

  • Black Label
    • January 25, 2017

    Black Label

    Designating the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organization may actually backfire.

  • Devils in the Details
    • January 17, 2017

    Devils in the Details

    The strengthening of authoritarianism is especially visible in the margins of the Egyptian state.

  • A Palestine Succession Story
    • November 16, 2016

    A Palestine Succession Story

    Choosing whom comes after Mahmoud Abbas may be a complicated endeavor.


PhD, MA, Princeton University
BA, University of Chicago

  • Arabic
  • English
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