Robert Brenner

Robert Paul Brenner
Born (1943-11-28) November 28, 1943[1]
New York, NY[1]
Occupation scholar, professor
Known for Brenner debate
Awards Guggenheim Fellowship (1977)
Academic background
Education Ph.D.
Alma mater Princeton University
Thesis title Commercial change and political conflict : the merchant community in civil war London[2]
Thesis year 1970[2]
Academic work
Discipline Historian
Sub discipline TudorStuart England specialist
Institutions University of California, Los Angeles[1]
Main interests Early Modern European History

Robert Paul Brenner (born November 28, 1943, in New York) is a professor emeritus of history and director of the Center for Social Theory and Comparative History at UCLA,[3] 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.[1]

He has contributed to a debate among Marxists on the "Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism," [4] 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.[5] His influential 1976 article on "Agrarian class structure and economic development in pre-industrial Europe" set forth the controversial "Brenner thesis."[6]He argued that smallholding peasants had strong property rights and had little incentive to give up traditional technology or go beyond local markets, and thus no incentive toward capitalism.



  1. 1 2 3 4 Brenner, Robert Paul (June 2007). "Curriculum Vitae" (PDF). University of California Los Angeles College - Social Sciences. University of California Los Angeles. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  2. 1 2 Brenner, Robert Paul (1970). Commercial change and political conflict : the merchant community in civil war London (Ph.D.). Princeton University. OCLC 49370299. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  3. Center for Social Theory and Comparative History (CSTCH) Home Page
  4. 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.
  5. Denemark, Robert A.; Thomas, Kenneth P. (March 1988). "The Brenner-Wallerstein Debate". International Studies Quarterly. 32 (1): 47–65. doi:10.2307/2600412. Retrieved December 2, 2016. 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
  6. Brenner, Robert. "Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-industrial Europe". Past and Present 70 (1976), pp. 30–74
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