Russell A. Berman

Senior Fellow

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 2000 and 1987, 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

Portrait of Karl Marx
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At 200, Marx Is Still Wrong

by Russell A. Bermanvia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Marxism was never about achieving an egalitarian society. It was about the pursuit of raw power.


Latest Moves Show Trump Grasps The Realities Of The Middle East

by Russell A. Bermanvia The Hill
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

During the past week, U.S. policy in the Middle East has taken on a sharper profile due to the coincidence of two major events. On May 8, President Trump announced the withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, better known as “the Iran deal." Less than a week later, on Monday, the American embassy opened in Jerusalem.

Portrait of Karl Marx

Marx’s Kapital Crimes

by Russell A. Bermanvia Politico
Saturday, May 5, 2018

Two hundred years after he was born, Karl Marx is still causing controversy. The donation of a statue by the People’s Republic of China to commemorate the anniversary of his birth Saturday in the small German city of Trier has rightly provoked strong opposition from those who recall the suffering that communist regimes inflicted on their populations.

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The New World Order

by Russell A. Bermanvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The political emergence of Eurasia has major implications for U.S. foreign policy.

Analysis and Commentary

Anti-Zionism And The Humanities: A Response To Saree Makdisi

by Cary Nelson, Russell A. Bermanvia Fathom Journal
Thursday, April 12, 2018

This lengthy essay by two leading US professors challenges the world of academic publishing. They identify the symptoms of a ‘widespread institutional corruption that extends far beyond the debates over the Middle East’: the move of disciplines and journals from textual interpretation and scholarship to politics and polemic; and the fundamental breakdown in the peer review process in the humanities and interpretive social sciences, as publishers with a strong anti-Zionist bias submit manuscripts to highly sympathetic anti-Zionist readers who laud the manuscript’s ‘courage’ and recommend publication, creating an anti-Zionist echo chamber increasingly free from some traditional scholarly controls, including fact-checking.

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Ousting Assad

by Russell A. Bermanvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, April 5, 2018

There are powerful moral and strategic reasons to end a butcher's rule.

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Russell Berman, Senior Fellow on Islamism and American Strategy

by Russell A. Bermanvia Hoover Institution
Thursday, March 22, 2018

Russell A. Berman, cochair of Hoover’s Herbert and Jane Dwight Working Group on Islamism and the International Order, looks at the contemporary world stage with a focus on the relationship of Islam, global institutions, and American policy.  

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The Syrian Rebellion And Its International Resonance

by Russell A. Bermanvia The Caravan
Tuesday, March 20, 2018

With all the optimism of the Arab Spring, the Syrian rebellion began with the belief that the people of Syria deserve better than the cruelty meted out by Assad family rule. That aspiration alone ought to be sufficient grounds to stand with the democratic forces pursuing self-determination. Yet the United States has been hesitating, a legacy of the Obama administration’s preference for tyranny in Tehran over freedom in Damascus. 

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Who Leads The West: Trump Or Merkel?

by Russell A. Bermanvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Thursday, December 14, 2017

The constitutional cultures of America and Germany differ markedly­—one prizes individual liberty while the other emphasizes the rational state. 

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Rolling Back Iran: The Global Context

by Russell A. Bermanvia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A question mark is hanging over American grand strategy. The triumphal optimism that marked the end of the Cold War has given way to profound anxiety about the future of the international order. American supremacy has frayed and ominous challenges have emerged. We have entered difficult times. How did we lose our advantage? Can we reclaim it?