Brown University has chosen Edward Steinfeld, currently the Dean’s Professor of China Studies, director of the China Initiative and professor of political science, as the new director of the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. Steinfeld begins his new position Jan. 1, 2016, succeeding Richard M. Locke.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Edward Steinfeld, the Dean’s Professor of China Studies, director of the China Initiative and professor of political science, has been named the Howard R. Swearer Director of the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. Steinfeld will succeed Richard M. Locke, who has served as Watson Institute director since 2013 and was appointed the University’s Provost in June 2015. Steinfeld begins his duties January 1, 2016.

“Professor Steinfeld is a highly accomplished scholar, specializing in China’s political economy and industrial development, with a record of administrative leadership and policy-relevant engagement, and will bring valuable perspectives to the role of director,” Paxson wrote in a letter to the campus community today. Steinfeld’s appointment followed an international search.

As director, Steinfeld will provide intellectual leadership and strategic direction in shaping and supervising the Institute’s teaching and research initiatives in international and public affairs.

“I feel tremendously honored to have the opportunity to serve as the next director of the Watson Institute. Brown today is an extraordinary place to be conducting engaged, multidisciplinary, policy-relevant research — exactly the type of scholarship needed to address urgent global concerns,” Steinfeld said. “Moving forward in close collaboration with colleagues across Brown’s campus — in the social sciences, the humanities, the sciences, engineering, public health, and medicine — we at Watson aim to change the world. What a privilege to be working on this kind of mission, with these kinds of colleagues, in this kind of university.”

Edward Steinfeld

Steinfeld came to Brown in 2013 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he served as professor of political science, professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, director of the MIT-China program, and co-director of the China Energy Group. Steinfeld received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University.

Following his arrival at Brown, Steinfeld launched the China Initiative, an interdisciplinary center for the study of modern China located at the Watson Institute, now in its second year. He will continue to oversee the China Initiative as director of Watson.

His research focuses on the economic, political, and social transformation of China. He is the author of Playing Our Game: Why China’s Rise Doesn’t Threaten the West (Oxford, 2010) and Forging Reform in China: The Fate of State-Owned Industry (Cambridge, 1998), as well as numerous articles in both academic and non-academic journals, including Comparative Politics, Political Studies, World Development, the Far Eastern Economic Review, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the South China Morning Post.

Steinfeld has served as a member of the board of directors of the National Committee on US-China Relations and is a member of the academic committee of the Center for Industrial Development and Environmental Governance at Tsinghua University.

The Watson Institute and the Howard R. Swearer Directorship

For more than two decades, the Watson Institute has analyzed global politics, power, and society, working across academic disciplines to identify causes and possible cures for urgent international problems. In 2014, the Institute integrated with the Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions, expanding its study of international and public affairs, and focusing its interdisciplinary, scholarly activities on three main areas: development, security, and governance.

The Watson Institute is a legacy of Thomas J. Watson Jr., a 1937 Brown graduate and former vice chancellor of the University, who served as U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union during the Carter administration. It supports the activities of faculty, students, visiting scholars, and policymakers focused on global development, security, and governance.

In addition to the Taubman Center and the China Initiative, Watson is home to several other centers and initiatives: the Brazil Initiative, the Brown-India Initiative, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Middle East Studies. The Institute also oversees a postdoctoral fellows program; the Graduate Program in Development; a 12-month intensive M.P.A. program; undergraduate concentrations in international relations, development studies, and public policy; the Choices Project; and the Brown International Advanced Research Institutes (BIARI).

The Swearer Directorship of the Institute is named for Howard R. Swearer, the 15th president of Brown and founding director of the Institute.