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

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.

IntroductionAnalysis and Commentary

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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Berlin's Politics Of Appeasement

by Russell A. Bermanvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Brexit means that power has shifted to Germany—but will the country be a reliable ally against Russia?

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Security, Strategy, And Values

by Russell A. Bermanvia The Caravan
Tuesday, May 3, 2016

ISIS terrorism in Paris and Brussels underscores the global character of the Islamist threat, but this should surprise no one, given the history of Islamist violence since September 11, 2001.

Mousque of Al-aqsa in Old Town - Jerusalem, Israel
Analysis and Commentary

Representing The Trial: Judith Butler Reads Hannah Arendt Reading Adolf Eichmann

by Russell A. Bermanvia Fathom Journal
Tuesday, April 19, 2016

In 1961 Adolf Eichmann, one of the architects of the Shoah, was apprehended in Argentina by Israeli agents and brought to Jerusalem where he was put on trial, convicted and executed. The trial was a turning point in the history of Holocaust jurisprudence and the judicial treatment of human rights crimes more generally.


Mourning, Solidarity And “Transversal Grief”: How Judith Butler Misreads Paris

by Russell A. Bermanvia Telos
Monday, March 28, 2016

Traveling in Paris, Judith Butler published a “letter” dated November 14, in English on the Verso blog and in French in Libération, the day after the ISIS attacks, entitled “Mourning becomes the Law.”