iOS app Android app

Erik Bleich
Erik Bleich is a professor of political science. He joined the Middlebury faculty in 1999.

His most recent book, The Freedom to Be Racist? How the United States and Europe Struggle to Preserve Freedom and Combat Racism (Oxford University Press, 2011), explores how the United States and European liberal democracies balance a love of freedom with the need to curb racism and racist speech.

Bleich’s current areas of research focus on race and ethnicity in West European politics.

He has written articles on topics such as hate crimes, political violence, Islamophobia, ethnic riots, immigration and integration, and the legacies of colonialism on contemporary policymaking.

He is also the author of Race Politics in Britain and France: Ideas and Policymaking since the 1960s, and the editor and a contributor to the book Muslims and the State in the Post-9/11 West.

Bleich graduated from Brown University in 1991 and received his master's and doctorate from Harvard University. He also received a Certificat d'Etudes Politiques from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Paris in 1990.

Entries by Erik Bleich

Don't Blame Muslims: France's Failed Promise of Integration

(14) Comments | Posted November 20, 2015 | 12:20 PM


In the days after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January 2015, I interviewed a dozen Muslims in Lyon, France. Among others, I talked to unemployed young men hanging out on a street corner, a veiled funeral parlor employee, a public official, and a...

Read Post

Limiting Hate Speech Is Important, Even After Charlie Hebdo

(3) Comments | Posted January 12, 2015 | 5:26 PM

Author's Photo: Place des Jacobins, Lyon, France, January 8, 2015

The night after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, I was surprised to hear shouting outside my apartment in Lyon, France. "This is our home!" echoed loudly around our neighborhood. There were roughly 100...

Read Post

When Is It OK to Call Someone a Nazi?

(8) Comments | Posted January 31, 2014 | 6:13 PM

Nazis have been in the news a lot lately. But not the kind you read about in textbooks or will see in George Clooney's The Monuments Men. Heated debates have erupted in the U.S., Israel, France, and Britain over the past few weeks about when it is appropriate to use...

Read Post

What John Galliano Can Teach Americans About Free Speech

(31) Comments | Posted September 8, 2011 | 11:13 AM

Today's conviction in Paris of fashion designer John Galliano for "anti-Semitic insult" highlights a dilemma for citizens of liberal democracies like France and the United States. At what point do racist diatribes cross the line between protected and punishable speech?

Many Americans believe that the...

Read Post

After the British Riots: What Comes Next?

(3) Comments | Posted August 22, 2011 | 12:01 PM

When riots erupt in wealthy liberal democracies, the first question people ask is "why?" After the initial media attention, national soul-searching, and political finger-pointing dies down, states are left with hard decisions about what to do next. In the wake of the 2011 riots, the British government may choose to...

Read Post