Erik Bleich
Office
Munroe Hall 301
Tel
(802) 443-3254
Email
ebleich@middlebury.edu
Office Hours
Monday 1:30 -3:00; Wednesday 1:30 - 3:00 and by appointment

Erik Bleich joined the Political Science department in the fall of 1999. He has served as Director of European Studies, Director of International Politics & Economics, and Chair of Political Science.

His book Covering Muslims: American Newspapers in Comparative Perspective (Oxford University Press, 2022, with A. Maurits van der Veen) couples big data analysis of more than 1.6 million articles with readings of individual texts. It conclusively shows the striking negativity in coverage of Muslims across time, country, and topics, as well as compared to groups as diverse as Catholics, Jews, Hindus, African Americans, Latinos, Mormons, and atheists. It introduces the concept of “tone-checking” the media to inhibit the marginalization of vulnerable groups in our societies.

His broader research interests revolve around the topics of race and ethnicity in West European and North American politics. His first book, Race Politics in Britain and France: Ideas and Policymaking since the 1960s (Cambridge University Press, 2003), examines how theories of ideas and policymaking help explain different race policy outcomes in the two countries. His second 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 liberal democracies balance a desire to promote freedom with the goal of curbing racism. He has also published on the concept of Islamophobia, the status of Muslims, hate crimes, political violence, ethnic riots, theories of immigration and integration, and the legacies of colonial history on contemporary policymaking. His articles have appeared in journals such as Comparative Political Studies, Comparative Politics, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Social Forces, Theory & Society, and World Politics. He has edited and contributed to the book Muslims and the State in the Post-9/11 West (Routledge, 2010) and co-edited and contributed to the book Migrants, Minorities and the Media: Information, Representations and Participation in the Public Sphere (Routledge 2017). Since 2012, he has directed the Media Portrayals of Minorities Project.

Outside of Middlebury College, he has served as the Chair of the Executive Committee of the Council for European Studies (2019-2021), as a member of the Council of the American Political Science Association (2019-2022), and as Fulbright-Tocqueville Distinguished Chair (2022).

Courses Taught

Course Description

European Studies Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Middle East Studies Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Terms Taught

Winter 2019, Winter 2020, Winter 2021, Winter 2022, Winter 2023

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Course Description

Introduction to Text as Data
Computational tools that identify patterns in language and text increasingly help us understand the world. In this course we will explore several of the most common types of text-as-data analyses, such as collocations, keywords in context, topic modeling, and sentiment analysis. Students will work in teams throughout the semester to apply these tools to understand media coverage of a group or topic of their choice. This course is designed to be accessible to students in the social sciences, humanities, and arts as well as being of interest to computer science, math, and science students. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2022

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Course Description

Introduction to Media and Minorities
In this course we will learn a process for understanding how the media portray minorities. Students will be introduced to techniques developed by Middlebury’s Media Portrayals of Minorities Project lab that enable quantitative and qualitative analysis of digital news to better understand how social groups as diverse as immigrants, refugees, Muslims, Jews, Latinos, Chinese, Africans, and others have been portrayed in the US and international media. Students in this class will learn how to download bulk newspaper data from Lexis-Nexis, to process it using python notebooks, and to statistically analyze it using Stata as they work on a concrete project of their choice.

Terms Taught

Winter 2019, Winter 2020, Winter 2021

Requirements

DED, WTR

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Course Description

Independent Project
(Approval Required)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Introduction to Comparative Politics
This course offers an introduction to the comparative study of political systems and to the logic of comparative inquiry. How are different political systems created and organized? How and why do they change? Why are some democratic and others authoritarian? Why are some rich and others poor? Other topics covered in this course include nationalism and political ideologies, forms of representation, the relationship between state institutions and civil society, and globalization. The goal in this course is to use comparative methods to analyze questions of state institutions -- how they arise, change, and generate different economic, social, and political outcomes. 3 hrs. lect. disc. (Comparative Politics)/

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2021

Requirements

CMP, SOC

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Course Description

What Can I Say? Free Speech v. Racist Speech in the United States and Europe
In this course we will delve into the politics and law surrounding issues of racist speech in the United States and Europe. We will look at the development of speech doctrines in the post-World War Two era, drawing on well-known case studies from American constitutional history, as well as European examples such as the Danish Cartoon Controversy and Holocaust denial cases. Through comparison across time and countries, we will debate the appropriate limits on racist speech in different contexts. (Not open to students who have taken FYSE 1510 or PSCI 1023) 3 hrs. lect./disc (Comparative Politics)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Fall 2020

Requirements

CMP, CW, SOC

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Course Description

The Politics of Diversity in Western Europe
Contrary to common perceptions, most West European populations are no longer overwhelmingly white and Christian. The new diversity prompted by post-World War II immigration has generated opportunities and challenges for European societies. In this course, we will examine how ethnic diversity is affecting contemporary West European politics. We will cover the topics of citizenship, immigration, immigrant integration, the rise of far right parties, and state policies toward Europe's new ethnically, racially, and religiously diverse societies. 3 hrs. lect./disc. (Comparative Politics)/

Terms Taught

Spring 2020

Requirements

EUR, SOC

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Course Description

The Media and Minorities
In this course we use techniques developed by Middlebury’s Media Portrayals of Minorities Project lab to examine how the media portray identifiable groups. These techniques enable quantitative and qualitative analysis of digital news to better understand how different types of groups--such as, for example, immigrants, refugees, Muslims, Jews, Latinos, Chinese, Africans, or others--have been portrayed in the US and international media. Students in this class will contribute to ongoing publication projects of the lab, and will have the opportunity to pursue their own research topics. Student projects will culminate in research papers that may form the basis for further independent work or for senior theses. 3hrs. seminar (Comparative Politics) (Approval Only)

Terms Taught

Spring 2020

Requirements

DED, SOC

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Course Description

The Media and the Marginalized
In this course we will study major elements of media analysis such as gatekeeping, agenda-setting, priming, framing, media tone, and media effects. We will then review how these elements have been applied in coverage of marginalized groups in developed democracies such as the United States and those of Western Europe. We will focus on groups identified by immigration status, race or ethnicity, religion, LGBTQ status, and sex. Students will develop skills to interpret and analyze articles about marginalized groups in light of theories of media studies, culminating in a research project of their choice. 3 hrs. sem. (Comparative Politics)

Terms Taught

Fall 2022

Requirements

CMP, SOC

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Course Description

Independent Projects
A program of independent work designed to meet the individual needs of advanced students. (Approval required)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Honors Thesis
(Approval required)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

View in Course Catalog