Keith Brown holds a bachelor's in classics from the University of Oxford and a master's and a doctorate in anthropology from the University of Chicago. Following teaching appointments in anthropology at Bowdoin College and the University of Wales, he joined the Politics, Culture and Identity program at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University. As well as teaching in Brown's interdisciplinary undergraduate programs in International Relations and Development Studies, he led several collaborative and policy-oriented research projects focusing on conflict and its aftermath, civil-military relations, and transitions to and from democracy. He served as director of the Brown International Advanced Research Institutes from 2010-2014, and director of the Watson Institute's postdoctoral program from 2014-2017, before joining ASU as director of the Melikian Center in 2017.
He has also been a senior fellow at the United States Institute of Peace and a visiting fellow at the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute and has delivered lecture series at the University of Oxford and at the Institute for National History in Skopje, Macedonia, where he was a Fulbright fellow in 2012-13.