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.