Bruce Berman

Bruce Berman

Emeritus in Memoriam

B.A. (Dartmouth); M.A. (LSE); M.Phil., Ph.D. (Yale) 

Political Studies

Professor Emeritus in Memoriam

People Directory Affiliation Category

Professor Emeritus Bruce Berman passed away on January 6, 2024 in Kingston, at the age of 81.  His obituary is available here through the James Reid Funeral Home.   

After spending 1968-69 at the Institute for Development Studies at the University of Nairobi, and in 1970 as an instructor at Yale, Professor Berman was appointed as a lecturer in the Department of Political Studies at Queen's in 1971.

Professor Berman's major field of interest was in the political economy of development, with special reference to Africa. He conducted research in Kenya, Ghana, and South Africa. During his years at Queen's, he taught undergraduate courses in African politics, the politics of science and technology, and a graduate seminar in development theory. Professor Berman was widely acknowledged as one of Canada's leading experts on African politics: he served as president of the Canadian Association of African Studies from 1990-91, and co-chair of the national program committee for the 1994 annual meeting of the African Studies Association of the U.S. In 2003 he was elected vice-president of the ASA and became president of the ASA in November 2004.

Professor Berman published widely in the field of African politics, with two of his books winning prizes: Control and Crisis in Colonial Kenya: the Dialectic of Domination (1990) won the Joel Gregory Prize in 1991, and Unhappy Valley: Conflict in Kenya and Africa (1992) won the Trevor Reese Memorial Prize in 1994. More recent publications include Critical Perspectives on Politics and Socio-Economic Development in Ghana (edited with W. Tettey and K. Puplampu, Brill, 2003), Ethnicity and Democracy in Africa (edited with W. Kymlicka and D. Eyoh, Ohio University Press, and James Currey, 2004), and “‘A Palimpsest of Contradictions': Ethnicity, Class and Politics in Africa,” in the International Journal of African Historical Studies (2004).

Students whose doctoral theses were supervised by Professor Berman are now in government service or teaching and researching in Canada, the West Indies, South Africa, Kenya, and Rwanda. In 2003 he was nominated for the Geoffrey Marshall Mentoring Award offered by the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools. Professor Berman was a founding member of the Research Group on Nationalism, Ethnicity, and Multicultural Citizenship (RGoNEMC) at Queen's.  He retired from Queen's in 2003.