Photo of Stephen Crowley


  • BA, Hamilton College, 1982
  • PhD, University Michigan Ann Arbor, 1993


Stephen Crowley, professor and chair of the Department of Politics, received a BA from Hamilton College and a PhD from the University of Michigan. His teaching focuses on Russia and Eastern Europe, peace and conflict studies, revolutions, and globalization.

Crowley is a scholar of the politics of Russia and Eastern Europe, with a focus on labor politics and the political economy of postcommunist transformations. A recurrent research question has been how postcommunist unions face the challenges from past institutional and ideological legacies, current political context, and the constraints placed by the global economy.

He is currently completing a book manuscript, tentatively titled “Stability amid Stagnation: The Politics of Labor and Deindustrialization in Putin’s Russia.” The book examines the specter of labor and social unrest that looms behind Russia’s leaders as they contemplate how to rejuvenate Russia’s struggling economy. It explores the legacy of Russia’s many “monotowns” or one-factory cities and towns left from the Soviet era. These factories are often near bankruptcy, and thus present particular dilemmas of potential labor protest that are difficult to resolve, especially since workers have few effective legal channels for expressing discontent under President Putin.

Putin’s legitimacy has rested for some time on economic growth and projecting “stability” after Russia’s tumultuous 1990s, and more recently on heightened nationalism and increasing populist class divisions between the “middle class” in Moscow and St. Petersburg and the working class in Russia’s industrial heartland. Yet such an approach is becoming increasingly unsustainable in the absence of high prices for Russia’s oil and gas. Initial findings from this project have been published in Post-Soviet Affairs , East European Politics & Societies , Problems of Post-Communism .

The book, Working Through the Past: Labor and Authoritarian Legacies in Comparative Perspective (coedited with Teri Caraway and Maria Lorena Cook; Cornell University Press, 2015), argues that labor in many settings confronts not only the challenges of economic globalization, but also legacies from the authoritarian past. The volume is the first comparative study of the impact of such legacies in new democracies in Asia, Latin America and post-Communist Europe.

Past research has examined the impact of post-Communist labor unions on the now-expanded EU, and explores the debate over the “varieties of capitalism” through the experience of east central Europe, and the impact of the more flexible labor relations of eastern Europe on the so-called European “social model.” One article appears in Politics & Society .

Previous publications include Hot Coal, Cold Steel: Russian and Ukranian Workers from the End of the Soviet Union to the Post-Communist Transformations (University of Michigan Press, 1977), runner-up for the AAASS Marshall Shulman Prize; and the coedited volume, Workers after Workers’ States: Labor and Politics in Postcommunist Eastern Europe (Rowman & Littlefield, 2001).

Other articles have appearedin such journals as World Politics, Demokratizatsiya, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, as well as a number of other selected volumes. See a fuller publications listing.

Crowley was recently a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, and a visiting scholar at George Washington University’s Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies. His research has been funded in recent years by grants from American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Kennan Institute, and the Collegium Budapest/Institute for Advanced Study.

In addition to academic presentations, Crowley has given talks to various groups on topics ranging from the conflict in Russia and Ukraine, globalization and the global financial crisis, and war and peace in U.S. foreign policy.

Publications include:  
  • Working Through the Past: Labor and Authoritarian Legacies in Comparative Perspective, (coedited with Teri Caraway and Maria Lorena Cook; Cornell University Press, 2015)
  • Workers after Workers’ States: Labor and Politics in Postcommunist Eastern Europe, (coedited with David Ost; Rowman & Littlefield, 2001)
  • Hot Coal, Cold Steel: Russian and Ukrainian Workers From the End of the Soviet Union to the Post-Communist Transformations, (University of Michigan Press, 1997), Nominated for the AAASS Marshall Shulman Prize, 1998

Articles have appeared in: World Politics, Politics & Society, Eastern European Politics and Societies, Post-Soviet Affairs, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, and Demokratizatsiya, as well as a number of collected volumes.

See a fuller listing


  • Stephen Crowley Interviewed

    July 31, 2018

    Stephen Crowley, professor of politics, was interviewed for WCPN’s The Sound of Ideas and WVIZ’s Ideas to provide perspective on a summit between President Trump and Vladimir Putin.

  • Stephen Crowley Authors Op-Ed

    March 10, 2017

    Professor of Politics Stephen Crowley’s opinion piece “To Resist Trump, Divide His Supporters” appeared on Truthout.

  • Stephen Crowley Selected as Fellow

    April 29, 2016

    Stephen Crowley, professor of politics, chair of Russian and eastern European Studies, and chair of peace and conflict studies, has been named a Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars fellow. Crowley’s fellowship begins in September and continues through May 2017.

  • Stephen Crowley Publishes

    February 11, 2016

    Stephen Crowley, professor of politics, chair of Russian & east European studies, and chair of peace & conflict studies, has co-written the article “Is Putin about to face a ‘colored revolution’?” Co-written by Irina Olimpieva, the article was published in The Washington Post.

  • Steve Crowley Discusses Ukraine

    March 19, 2014

    Professor of Politics Stephen Crowley has given two radio interviews recently on the situation in Ukraine. On March 19, he discussed developments in that country on WEOL’s Morning Show When asked if his knowledge of the region had allowed him to sense a crisis was coming, Crowley said, “I don’t think anybody predicted exactly what would happen in Ukraine. But there’s always been tension, particularly centered around Crimea, between Russia and Ukraine.” Noting that Crimea had long been a part of Russia and that its populace is overwhelmingly Russian speaking and Russian oriented, Crowley said “Putin and Russia have seen Crimea as a special case” and that he doesn’t expect Russia will press militarily any further into Ukraine. Crowley’s entire interview is archived on the WEOL website. On February 26, Crowley joined two other panelists for a segment on WCPN’s The Sound of Ideas titled “What Next in Ukraine,” which can be accessed on WCPN’s website.”

  • Steve Crowley Talks Sochi with WCPN

    February 19, 2014

    Cleveland NPR affiliate WCPN invited Professor of Russian and Eastern European Studies Steve Crowley to participate in a conversation about the political and security issues of the 13th Olympic games in Sochi, Russia. The program aired Monday, February 10, and is available for listening on the WCPN website.