Drawn from a larger project which examines the relationships between ethnic identity and anti-Ottoman insurgency in early 20th century Macedonia, Keith Brown, an associate professor at Brown University will focus on the specific instance of the Ilinden Uprising of 1903. Brown will analyze the circuits through which members of Macedonia's Revolutionary Organization obtained and stockpiled thousands of rifles in preparation for the Ilinden Uprising, and the practical and symbolic effects of that effort on patterns of intercommunal violence in Macedonia. In particular, Brown will attend to descriptions of purchasing rifles and ammunition from a purportedly threatening other, Albanians, to argue that the Organization’s emphasis on acquiring arms, even when undertaken in a spirit of self-defense,  had important and far-reaching cultural consequences in re-ordering patterns of deadly retribution and escalation between different communities.

Keith Brown is an associate research professor at the Watson Institute at Brown University. Working primarily in the domain of culture, politics and identity, he has conducted extensive research on ethno-nationalism and the role of national history in the Balkans. This research into how different communities construct history in Macedonia, Greece, and Bulgaria led to his book “The Past in Question: Modern Macedonia and the Uncertainties of Nation”, as well as a number of articles on the culture, history, and politics of Macedonia. Brown’s more recent work explores how different transnational processes such as labor migration, democracy promotion, and commodity production contribute to people's sense of long-distance connection, and new forms of citizenship and belonging.  He is engaged on long-term research on the interaction between political activism and labor migration, and his book entitled "Loyal Unit Death: Circuits of Trust and Terror in Insurgent Macedonia" is forthcoming from Indiana University Press.


  • Keith Brown

    Associate Professor (Research), Brown University