Russell A. Berman

Senior Fellow
Biography: 

Russell A. Berman, the Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a co-chair of the Working Group on Islamism and the International Order.

Berman specializes in the study of German literary history and cultural politics. He is a member of both the Department of German Studies and the Department of Comparative Literature at Stanford. He has served in numerous administrative positions at Stanford.

He is the author of numerous articles and books including Enlightenment or Empire: Colonial Discourse in German Culture (1998) and The Rise of the Modern German Novel: Crisis and Charisma (1986), both of which won the Outstanding Book Award of the German Studies Association (in 1987 and 2000, respectively). Hoover Institution Press published his books Freedom or Terror: Europe Faces Jihad (2010) and Anti-Americanism in Europe: A Cultural Problem (2004). His other books include Fiction Sets You Free: Literature, Liberty and Western Culture (2007), Cultural Studies of Modern Germany: Representation and Nationhood (1993), Modern Culture and Critical Theory: Art, Politics and the Legacy of the Frankfurt School (1989), and Between Fontane and Tucholsky: Literary Criticism and the Public Sphere in Wilhelmine Germany (1983). He has also published numerous articles in the Hoover Digest, most recently "Spoken Like a World Citizen" (spring 2011). His writings have also appeared in Defining Ideas and Advancing a Free Society.

Berman has received many honors and awards including a Mellon Faculty Fellowship at Harvard University (1982–83), an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship (1988–89), and the Bundesverdienstkreuz of the Federal Republic of Germany (1997).

Berman received his BA in 1972 from Harvard and his doctorate from Washington University in 1979.

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Recent Commentary

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Ten Ways to Rescue Mideast Policy

by Russell A. Berman, Charles Hillvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 24, 2017

In the Middle East the previous administration established neither democracy nor security—and now Russia is on the scene. 

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France Isn't Good For The Jews

by Russell A. Bermanvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Thursday, April 6, 2017

These are troubling times for the Jewish French, which ‘BHL’ glosses over in his new book.  

middle east
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Ten Proposals On The Middle East For The New US Administration

by Russell A. Berman, Charles Hillvia Analysis
Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Of the foreign policy challenges that face the new administration in Washington, perhaps none is more significant than that of the Middle East.  From spawning terrorism to supplying the bulk of the world’s fuels to destabilizing Europe with a wave of migration, its problems reverberate far beyond its borders.  Under the Obama administration, Iran and Russia have been allowed to supplant the United States as a regional hegemon, and the result has been destabilizing to the point of threatening the international order. 

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Ten Proposals On The Middle East For The New U.S. Administration

by Russell A. Berman, Charles Hillvia Defining Ideas
Friday, January 13, 2017

The new administration will inherit a Middle East foreign policy in tatters—and the aspirations of Obama's 2009 Cairo speech have not been met.  

Analysis and Commentary

The Modern Language Association Votes To Reject Academic Boycott Of Israel

by Russell A. Bermanvia Tablet Magazine
Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Insight into why the largest professional association of humanities scholars in North America rejected a BDS motion to boycott Israeli universities.

Analysis and Commentary

Critical Theory Of The Contemporary: Election 2016, Environmental Nationalism, And Palestinian Shame

by Russell A. Berman, Kiron K. Skinnervia Telos
Wednesday, December 21, 2016

After a rancorous and ugly presidential campaign, in which vitriol and name-calling replaced discussion and policy, one moment stands out for its dignity: President Obama’s grace and generosity when he welcomed the president-elect to the White House.

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Strategy And Assets In The Middle East

by Russell A. Bermanvia The Caravan
Monday, September 26, 2016

The goal of this Caravan has been to provide an account of the strategic underpinning of the challenges the US faces and which the next administration—whoever occupies the White House—will have to address. Five distinguished experts have explained how the historical preeminence of American military power in the region cannot be taken for granted. It can be maintained only through a clear strategic vision and the political will to act on it. 

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Life After Merkel: A Preview

by Russell A. Bermanvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Germany’s vulnerable chancellor looks likely to lose out on a fourth term.

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The Middle East: The Strategic Landscape For The Next Administration

by Russell A. Bermanvia Caravan
Tuesday, September 20, 2016

This Caravan provides a compelling map of the significant challenges the US faces in the region as well as the opportunities to pursue a strategy to reestablish and maintain preeminence. Whatever the outcome of this extraordinary presidential election may be, the next administration will face significant challenges, especially in the Middle East.

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Are Trump And Obama Really That Different?

by Russell A. Bermanvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Friday, August 5, 2016

The two share very similar policy agendas: nation-building at home and retreat abroad.

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