Peter Gowan
Born(1946-01-15)15 January 1946
Died12 June 2009(2009-06-12) (aged 63)
Academic background
Alma materSouthampton University
Academic work
InstitutionsLondon Metropolitan University
Main interestsInternational relations

Peter Gowan (15 January 1946, Glasgow – 12 June 2009) was a Professor of International Relations at London Metropolitan University, activist, published author and public speaker. He was a member of the editorial committee of New Left Review[1] and was one of the founders of Labour Focus on Eastern Europe.[2]


Along with his older sister and his mother Gowan moved to Belfast in April 1946 and lived there until he was nine. He never knew his father.

He went to school at Princess Gardens in Belfast until he was seven and then to Brackenburgh House. When he was nine his mother moved to London to work and he went to prep school in Suffolk, Orwell Park, ultimately becoming head boy. He left there to go to Haileybury and Imperial Service College, in Hertfordshire when he was 13, in 1959 and from there went on to read politics and history at Southampton University.

Gowan was diagnosed with his fatal illness only a couple of weeks after the onset of the Global Financial Crisis.[3] Despite knowing that his condition was terminal and his health fast-deteriorating, he not only bore it with good humour, but bravely continued to work to the limits of his capacity over the following months: his article "Crisis in the Heartland" for the January–February 2009 issue of New Left Review provides a succinct account of how he interpreted the origins of the financial crisis. He died at age 63 from the asbestos related disease, peritoneal mesothelioma on 12 June 2009.[4]



  1. ^ "Peter Gowan, The Ways of the World, NLR 59, September–October 2009". New Left Review. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  2. ^ Guzek, Martin (June 2020). "Supporting the Democratic Opposition in Eastern Europe". Labour Briefing. Translated by Holland, David. Labour Representation Committee. p. 30.
  3. ^ "Peter Gowan | Obituary". The Guardian. 16 June 2009. Archived from the original on 23 April 2023.
  4. ^ Revolutionary History Obituary
Awards Preceded byFrancis Wheen Deutscher Memorial Prize 2000 Succeeded byJames Holstun [Wikidata]