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Nina Berman

Nina Berman

Director and Professor, School of International Letters and Cultures, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

School of International Letters and Cultures
Arizona State University
PO Box 870202
Tempe, AZ 85287-0202


  • Senior Sustainability Scholar, Global Institute of Sustainability and Innovation
  • Director and Professor, School of International Letters and Cultures, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


Nina Berman is the director of and a professor in the School of International Letters and Cultures at Arizona State University. Her research areas include globalization studies, humanitarianism, tourism, German orientalism and colonialism, Germans in Africa, and intercultural hermeneutics. She joined ASU in 2016.

Professor Berman's has held previous teaching appointments at The Ohio State University (2001-2016), the University of Texas at Austin (1994-2001), and a guest professorship at Georg-August Universität, Göttingen (2014). 

She has written and co-edited six books and special issues, most recently Germans on the Kenyan Coast: Land, Charity, and Romance (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2017), and published numerous book chapters, review articles, book reviews, and articles. She speaks German, Arabic, French, and Kiswahili. 


  • PhD, Department of German, University of California Berkley, 1994
  • MA, Department of German, San Francisco State University, 1989
  • BA, Zwischenprufung in German, Arabic, and History, Georg-August-Universitat, Gottingen, Germany, 1983


Journal Articles


Berman, N. 2018. Scrambling for Africa, again: Germans in Kenya. EuropeNow 2018(March):. (link )


Berman, N. 2017. "A White Lady is Like Gold for Us'': Precarious empathy in Kenyan-German romantic relations. German Studies Review 40(1):123-146. (link )


Berman, N. 2016. From Colonial to Neoliberal Times: German agents of tourism development and business in Diani, Kenya. Transit: A Journal of Travel, Migration, and Multiculturalism in the German-speaking World 10(2):. (link )

Berman, N. 2016. Preface to "The Future of the Past". Transit: A Journal of Travel, Migration, and Multiculturalism in the German-speaking World 10(2):. (link )


Berman, N. 2013. Yusef's choice: East African agency during the German colonial period in Abdulrazak Gernah's novel Paradise. English Stuies in Africa 56(1):51-64. DOI: 10.1080/00138398.2013.780681. (link )


Berman, N. 2010. Deutsche, Österreicher und Osmanen im Kontakt: Die Relevanz von interkulturellen Praktiken für die Interpretation von Literatur. Interkulturalität in den German Studies 24(2):37-54. (link )


Berman, N. 2009. Introduction. Disability Studies Quarterly 29(4):. (link )

Berman, N. 2009. Negotiating local knowledge: Networking disability on the community level. Disability Studies Quarterly 29(4):. (link )


Berman, N. 2008. Ottoman shock-and-awe and the rise of Protestantism: Luther's reactions to the Ottoman invasions of the early sixteenth century. Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies 41(3):226-245. DOI: 10.3138/sem.v41.3.226. (link )


Berman, N. 2004. Thoughts on Zionism in the context of German-Middle Eastern relations. Comparative Studes of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East 24(2):133-144. DOI: 10.1215/1089201X-24-2-133. (link )


Berman, N. 1999. Albert Schweitzer: Germany’s alibi and exculpation. The European Studies Journal 16(2):69-94.

Berman, N. 1999. Multiculturism, reintegration, and beyond: The Afrikanisch-Asiatische studentenförderung in Göttingen. South Central Review 16(2/3):34-53. DOI: 10.2307/3190188. (link )

Berman, N. 1999. Multikulturalität, Reintegration und darüber hinaus: Die Afrikanisch-Asiatische Studentenförderung in Göttingen. Bildung, Ausbildung und Weiterbildung in Afrika und Asien. Jahrbuch der Afrikanisch-Asiatischen-Studentenfordering 141-167.


Berman, N. 1998. German and Middle Eastern literary traditions in a novel by Salim Alaenisch: Thoughts on a Germanophone Beduin author from the Negev. The German Quarterly 71(3):271-283. DOI: 10.2307/407704. (link )

Berman, N. 1998. K.u.K. colonialism: Hofmannsthal in North Africa. New German Critique 75(Autumn):3-27. DOI: 10.2307/488576. (link )



Berman, N. 2017. Germans on the Kenyan Coast: Land, Charity, and Romance. Indiana University Press. ISBN: 978-0253024305.


Berman, N., K. Muhlhahn and P. Nganang eds. 2014. German Colonialism Revisited: African, Asian, and Oceanic Experiences. University of Michigan Press. Ann Arbor, MI. ISBN: 978-0472119127.


Berman, N. 2011. German Literature on the Middle East: Discourses and Practices, 1000-1989. University of Michigan Press. ISBN: 978-0472117512.


Berman, N. 2004. Impossible Missions?: German Economic, Military, and Humanitarian Efforts in Africa. University of Nebraska Press. ISBN: 978-0803213340.


Berman, N. 1997. Orientalismus, Kolonialismus und Moderne: Zum Bild des Orients in der deutschsprachigen Kultur um 1900. M & P. ISBN: 978-3476451620.

Book Chapters

In Press

Berman, N. Interkulturelle Kompetenz, Intersektionalität und Selbstreflektion: Zur Methode einer Globalgeschichte der deutschen Literatur. In: Kim, D. and U. Buettner eds., Globalgeschichte der deutschen Literatur. De Gruyter.


Berman, N. 2017. Schaffe schaffe, Häusle baue: German business and settlers on the Kenyan Coast since the 1960s. Pp. 51-72 In: Muhlhahn, K. ed., The Cultural Legacy of German Colonial Rule. De Gruyter Oldenbourg. ISBN: 978-3110523065.


Berman, N. 2016. Contemporary German MONGOS in Diani, Kenya: Two approaches to humanitarian aid. Pp. 227-244 In: Witkowski, G. R. and A. Bauerkamper eds., German Philanthropy in Transatlantic Perspective: Perceptions, Exchanges and Transfers since the Early Twentieth Century. Springer International Publishing Switzerland. ISBN: 978-3319408378.

Berman, N. 2016. Imperial violence and the limits of tolerance reading Luther with Las Casas. Pp. 139-161 In: Klager, F. and G. Bayer eds., Early Modern Constructions of Europe: Literature, Culture, History. Routledge. ISBN: 978-1138931596.

Berman, N. 2016. On the semiotics of cross-cultural representation: Cultural translation in Carl Raswan's Im Land der schwarzen Zelte. Pp. 107-121 In: Wiggins, B. and C. MacLeod eds., Un/Translatables: New Maps for Germanic Literatures. Northwestern University Press. Evanston, IL. ISBN: 978-0810133433.


Berman, N. 2015. Neoliberal charity: German contraband humanitarians in Kenya. Pp. 119-138 In: Kaul, S. and D. Kim eds., Imagining Human Rights. De Gruyter. ISBN: 978-3110376197.


Berman, N. 2014. Imperial narratives: Islamic concepts of inclusion and exclusion in Ibn Fadlan's account of his mission to the Bulgars. Pp. 89-110 In: Richards, A. R. and I. Omidvar eds., Historic Engagements with Occidental Cultures, Religions, Powers. Palgrave MacMillan. New York, NY. ISBN: 978-1137405012.

Berman, N., K. Muhlhahn and P. Nganang. 2014. Introduction. Pp. 1-30 In: Berman, N., K. Muhlhahn and P. Nganang eds., German Colonialism Revisited: African, Asian, and Oceanic Experiences. University of Michigan Press. Ann Arbor, MI. ISBN: 978-0472119127.


Berman, N. and J. Kaplan. 2013. Contraband charity: German humanitarianism in contemporary Kenya. Pp. 67-119 In: Everill, B. ed., The History and Practice of Humanitarianism Intervention and Aid in Africa. {algrave MacMillan. ISBN: 978-1137270016.


Berman, N. 2011. Was dokumentiert die Literatur? Praxistheoretische Überlegungen zum deutsch-türkischen Kulturkontakt im achtzehnten und zwanzigsten Jahrhundert. Pp. 157-168 In: Ozil, S., M. Hofmann and Y. Dayroglu-Yucel eds., Türkisch-deutscher Kulturkontakt und Kulturtransfer: Kontroversen und Lernprozesse. Gottingen V&R Unipress. ISBN: 978-3-89971-858-4.


Berman, N. 2008. Translation and inter/multi/transcultural German studies. Pp. 251-267 In: Martinson, S. D. and R. A. Schulz eds., Transcultural German Studies / Deutsch als Fremdsprache: Building Bridges. Peter Lang AG, Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften. ISBN: 978-3039116270.


Berman, N. 2007. Deutsche Orientalen: Identifikationsmuster in der deutschen Literatur. Pp. 233-250 "Istanbul": Geistige Wanderungen aus der "Welt in Scherben". Transcript Verlag. ISBN: 978-3899424744.

Berman, N. 2007. Historische Phasen orientalisierender Diskurse in Deutschland. Pp. 71-84 In: Attia, I. ed., Orient- und IslamBilder. Unrast Verlag. DOI: 9783897714663.

Berman, N. 2007. Karl May im Kontext von Kolonialismus und Auswanderung. Pp. 199-209 In: Attia, I. ed., Orient- und IslamBilder. Unrast Verlag. ISBN: 9783897714663.


Berman, N. 2006. Against miscegenation? Contemporary German and French reality literature about interracial relationships. Pp. 1-17 In: Bayer, G. ed., Mediating Germany: Popular Culture between Tradition and Innovation. Cambridge Scholars Press. Newcastle, UK. ISBN: 978-1847180339.


Berman, N. 2005. Autobiological accounts of Kenyan-German marriages: Reception and context. Pp. 205-226 In: Ames, E., M. Klotz and L. Wildenthal eds., Germany's Colonial Pasts. University of Nebraska Press. ISBN: 978-0803248199.


Berman, N. 2002. Colonization or globalization? Ernst Udet's account of East Africa from 1932. Pp. 297-314 In: Falola, T. and C. Jennings eds., Africanizing Knowledge: African Studies Across the Disciplines. Transaction Publishers. New York, NY. ISBN: 978-0765801388.

Berman, N. 2002. Defining religious identity in modern Germany: Two case studies. Pp. 95-109 In: Ruf, W. ed., Islam and the West: Judgements, Prejudices, Political Perspectives. Verlag. ISBN: 978-3896881120.

Berman, N. 2002. Hugo von Hofmannsthal's political vision––an analysis of selected early prose writings. Pp. 201-220 In: Kovach, T. A. ed., A Companion to the Works of Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Camden House. ISBN: 978-1571132154.

Berman, N. 2002. The appeal of Karl May in the Wilhelmine Empire: Emigration, modernization, and the need for heroes. Pp. 283-305 In: Kontje, T. ed., A Companion to German Realism. Studies in German Literature, Linguistics, and Culture. Camden House. New York, NY. ISBN: 978-1571133229.


Berman, N. 1998. Orientalism, imperialism, and nationalism: Karl May's Orientzyklus. Pp. 51-67 In: Friedrichsmeyer, S. L., S. Lennox and S. M. Zantop eds., The Imperialist Imagination: German Colonialism and Its Legacy. University of Michigan Press. Ann Arbor, MI. ISBN: 978-0472066827.

Berman, N. and P. M. Lutzeler. 1998. Die Bundeswehr in Somalia und die Frage humanitärer Intervention: Bodo Kirchhoffs Herrenmenschlichkeit. Pp. 221-242 Schriftsteller und "Dritte Welt": Studien zum postkolonialen Blick. Stauffenburg. ISBN: 978-3860572085.



Schlosser, P., D. White, K. Merrigan, K. Lackner, G. Dirks, R. Aggarwal, N. Berman, C. Boone, H. Eakin, M. Laubichler, B. Sarda and S. van der Leeuw. 2019. Recognizing the urgency of our climate crisis: ASU Global Futures Laboratory response to the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land [Editorial]. Retrieved from link

Blog Posts


Graff, S. B., N. Berman, R. Aggarwal, C. M. Edwards, C. Morehart, S. Hamdoun, D. Manuel-Navarrete, O. Iheduru, H. Eakin, M. Parmentier, G. Grossman and N. Chhetri. 2020. If "the economy" is collapsing, how do people survive? [Blog Post]. Retrieved from link