Russian and East European Studies
Department Chair:
Stephen Crowley

Administrative Assistant:
Polly Bratton

Department Email:

Phone: (440) 775-8650
Fax: (440) 775-6355

Peters Hall 222
50 N. Professor St.
Oberlin, OH, 44074

Stephen (Steve) Crowley

Stephen (Steve) Crowley


Contact Information


ON LEAVE 2016-17
Personal Office Hours:
ON LEAVE 2016-17

Stephen Crowley

Stephen (Steve) Crowley

Educational Background

  • Bachelor of Arts, Hamilton College, 1982
  • Doctor of Philosophy, University Michigan Ann Arbor, 1993

Curriculum Vitae

Stephen Crowley, professor of politics, received a BA rom 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 post-Communist transformations. His research has centered on the transitions to democracy and capitalism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. A recurrent question has been how post-Communist unions face the challenges from past institutional and ideological legacies, current political conditions, and the constraints placed by the global economy. 

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. 

One ongoing project examines labor in contemporary Russia, specifically the legacy of the “monogorod” or one-factory 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 Russian President Vladimir Putin. Initial findings have been published, in Post-Soviet Affairs and in Russian Analytical Digest.

Another recent topic concerns the concept of “class” in post-Soviet Russia. Class was a ubiquitous yet anodyne concept in the Soviet period, and this experience continues to shape how class issues are discussed today by Russian social scientists, by the political leadership, and in popular culture and everyday discourse. Moreover, opponents of Putin face the quandary of how to overcome the gap between the “middle class” in Moscow and St. Petersburg and the working class in Russia’s provinces. A preliminary take can be found in East European Politics & Societies.

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.

These research projects have been funded in recent years by grants from American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, and the Collegium Budapest/Institute for Advanced Study.

Publications include:  Working Through the Past: Labor and Authoritarian Legacies in Comparative Perspective, (Cornell University Press, 2015), [coedited with Teri Caraway and Maria Lorena Cook]; Workers after Workers’ States: Labor and Politics in Postcommunist Eastern Europe, (Rowman & Littlefield, 2001), [coedited with David Ost]; 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.

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