Mark R. Beissinger


Mark Beissinger is the Henry W. Putnam Professor in the Department of Politics at Princeton University.  He previously served on the faculties of University of Wisconsin-Madison and Harvard University.  His areas of interest are social movements, revolutions, nationalism, state-building, and imperialism, with particular reference to the former Soviet Union and its successor states. 


Beissinger is author or editor of six books: The Revolutionary City:  Urbanization and the Global Transformation of Rebellion (Princeton University Press, 2022); Historical Legacies of Communism in Russia and Eastern Europe (Cambridge University Press, 2014 [jointly edited with Stephen Kotkin]); Nationalist Mobilization and the Collapse of the Soviet State (Cambridge University Press, 2002); Beyond State Crisis? Post-Colonial Africa and Post-Soviet Eurasia Compared (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002 [jointly edited with Crawford Young]); The Nationalities Factor in Soviet Politics and Society (Westview, 1990 [jointly edited with Lubomyr Hajda]); and Scientific Management, Socialist Discipline, and Soviet Power (Harvard University Press, 1988).  His articles have appeared in The American Political Science Review, Perspectives on Politics, World Politics, Comparative Politics, Social Research, The Journal of Democracy, Ethnopolitics, Mobilization, Post-Soviet Affairs, Slavic Review, Kritika, Ab Imperio, and other journals.


Beissinger's 2002 book Nationalist Mobilization and the Collapse of the Soviet State won multiple awards: the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award (now known as the Merze Tate–Elinor Ostrom Outstanding Book Award) presented by the American Political Science Association for the best book published in the United States in the fields of government, politics, or international affairs; the Mattei Dogan Award presented by the Society for Comparative Research for the best book published in the field of comparative research; and the Best Book Award of the European Politics Section of the American Political Science Association.  His 2022 book The Revolutionary City received the Gregory Luebbert Award presented by the Comparative Politics Section of the American Political Science Association for the best book in comparative politics published over the previous two years.  Beissinger was selected as a Guggenheim Fellow in 2017, and in 2024 he was recognized by Princeton's Department of Politics with a Stanley Kelley Jr. Award for Excellence in Teaching.


Beissinger has been a member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton and a fellow at the Wissenshaftskolleg zu Berlin, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the Davis Center for Russian Studies at Harvard, as well as a visiting fellow at Nuffield College at Oxford and a Ciampi Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Advanced Studies of the Scuola Normale Superiore in Florence.  His research has also been supported by the National Science Foundation, the United States Institute for Peace, the National Council for Soviet and East European Research, the American Council of Learned Societies, the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), Fulbright-Hays, and the Ford, Rockefeller, and Olin Foundations. 


From 2009-2016 Beissinger served as Director of the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS).  At Wisconsin, he was Chair of the Political Science Department from 2001-2004 and was the founding Director of Wisconsin's Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia from 1992 to 1998.  Beissinger also served as President of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies (now the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies)--the main area studies association for the Russian, East European, and Eurasian regions.