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Robert Brenner

Robert Brenner
Robert Paul Brenner

(1943-11-28) November 28, 1943 (age 80)[3]
Known forBrenner debate
AwardsGuggenheim Fellowship (1977)
Academic background
Alma mater
ThesisCommercial Change and Political Conflict[1] (1970)
Doctoral advisorLawrence Stone[2]
Academic work
Sub-disciplineEarly modern European history
School or traditionMarxism
InstitutionsUniversity of California, Los Angeles[3]
Notable studentsGopal Balakrishnan, Manali Desai
Main interestsTudorStuart English history

Robert Paul Brenner (/ˈbrɛnər/; born November 28, 1943) is an American economic historian. He is a professor emeritus of history and director of the Center for Social Theory and Comparative History at UCLA,[4] editor of the socialist journal Against the Current, and editorial committee member of New Left Review. His research interests are early modern European history, economic, social and religious history, agrarian history, social theory/Marxism, and TudorStuart England.[3]

Brenner contributed to a debate among Marxists on the "Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism",[5] emphasizing the importance of the transformation of agricultural production in Europe, especially in the English countryside, rather than the rise of international trade as the main cause of the transition.[6]

His influential 1976 article, Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-Industrial Europe, started the Brenner debate.[7] He argued that smallholding peasants had strong property rights and had little incentive to give up traditional technology or go beyond local markets and no incentive toward capitalism. In his introduction to the book, Rodney Hilton writes, "Brenner strongly emphasizes the class struggle rather than developments in the forces of production as being determinant of the various historical developments in the countries of late mediaeval and early modern Europe".

In the spring of 2017, Brenner and Vivek Chibber assumed editorial duties and co-launched the academic journal Catalyst: A Journal of Theory and Strategy, with the assistance of Jacobin magazine.[8]

Books and publications

  • 1976: Robert, Brenner. "Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-Industrial Europe". Published by Past and Present. JSTOR 650345.
  • 1993: Merchants and revolution : commercial change, political conflict, and London's overseas traders, 1550–1653 (Princeton, Princeton University Press) ISBN 0-691-05594-7
  • 2002: The boom and the bubble : the US in the world economy (New York, Verso) ISBN 1-85984-636-X
  • 2006: The economics of global turbulence : the advanced capitalist economies from Long Boom to Long Downturn, 1945–2005 (New York, Verso) ISBN 978-1-85984-730-5
  • 2009: Property and progress : the historical origins and social foundations of self-sustaining growth (London, Verso) ISBN 978-1-84467-318-6


  1. ^ Brenner, Robert Paul (1970). Commercial Change and Political Conflict: The Merchant Community i Civil War London (PhD thesis). Princeton University. OCLC 49370299. ProQuest 302557010.
  2. ^ Brenner, Robert (1993). Merchants and Revolution: Commercial Change, Political Conflict, and London's Overseas Traders, 1550-1653. Princeton: Princeton University Press. p. xvii. ISBN 978-0691055947.
  3. ^ a b c d Brenner, Robert Paul (June 2007). "Curriculum Vitae" (PDF). University of California Los Angeles College - Social Sciences. University of California Los Angeles. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2016. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  4. ^ Center for Social Theory and Comparative History (CSTCH) Home Page
  5. ^ The Brenner Debate: Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-industrial Europe. Editors: T. H. Aston, Trevor Henry Aston, C. H. E. Philpin. Contributors: R. H. Hilton, Robert Brenner, M. M. Postan, John Hatcher, Patricia Croot, David Parker, Heide Wunder, Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, Guy Bois, J. P. Cooper, Arnost Klima. Past and Present Publications. Cambridge University Press, 1987.
  6. ^ Denemark, Robert A.; Thomas, Kenneth P. (March 1988). "The Brenner-Wallerstein Debate". International Studies Quarterly. 32 (1): 47–65. doi:10.2307/2600412. JSTOR 2600412. The world-systems perspective put forward by Immanuel Wallerstein has elicited a great deal of critical comment. Its stress on a system level of analysis and the importance it attaches to trade have not, however, gone unchallenged.... Robert Brenner's "The Origins of Capitalist Development: A Critique of Neo-Smithian Marxism" (New Left Review, 1977) is a complex Marxist critique of the first of Wallerstein's world-system volumes
  7. ^ Brenner, Robert. "Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-industrial Europe". Past and Present 70 (1976), pp. 30–74
  8. ^ "Announcing Catalyst". Jacobin Magazine. Jacobin. May 4, 2017. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
Awards Preceded byMargaret A. Rose [Wikidata] Deutscher Memorial Prize 1985 Succeeded byEllen Meiksins Wood
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Robert Brenner
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