Russell Berman's research interests include German literature and politics of the 19th and 20th centuries and cultural and political relations between Europe and the United States. More broadly, he is interested in the sociology of modern culture, considering literature, history, and critical theory.
Berman is an expert on German literature and culture and on cultural relations between Europe and the United States. He is also the Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities, with appointments in Comparative Literature and German Studies and courtesy appointments at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and the Hoover Institution. He is currently the faculty director of the Introduction to the Humanities Program, and previously served as associate dean and as director of Stanford's Overseas Studies Program. Berman received his B.A. from Harvard in 1972 and his Ph.D. from Washington University in 1979, when he also joined the faculty at Stanford. Awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, he was also honored by the German government, which presented to him the Federal Officer's Service Cross. His publications have twice been awarded the distinguished book award of the German Studies Association.
Berman lived for many years in Germany, Austria and France and has published extensively on their literature and culture. His interests range widely, including the modern novel, the history of journalism and the media, poetry, and film, as well as comparisons between German, French, and American literature. His published work includes treatments of many periods in German cultural history, including the Nazi era and German unification.
He has written widely on modern German and European literature and politics, as well as on issues in contemporary cultural theory, in more than 80 articles and five books. This includes The Rise of the Modern German Novel: Crisis and Charisma (1986), which is regarded as one of the most important contributions to the study of 20th-century literature by an American Germanist. Both The Rise of the Modern German Novel and Enlightenment or Empire: Colonial Discourse in German Culture (1998) won the Outstanding Book Award of the German Studies Association (in 1987 and 2000, respectively). Most recently, he has published research on the cultural phenomenon of anti-Americanism. He is also the editor of the academic journal TELOS, a quarterly journal of politics, philosophy, critical theory, culture, and the arts. His current projects are on problems in literature, cultural history, and democracy as well as anti-Americanism, antisemitism and jihadist radicalism.