Dr Lars Berger

Dr Lars Berger


I received my MA in Political Science, Islamic Studies, and Sociology as well as my PhD in Political Science from the Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena in Germany. In 2006-07, I was a British Academy Fellow at the Department of Politics at Newcastle University. From 2007 to 2013, I was Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in Middle East Politics at the University of Salford.

I have studied, travelled and researched widely in the Middle East, including a one-year study stay at the American University in Cairo, as well as further research trips to Egypt, the Moshe Dayan Centre for Middle Eastern and African Studies in Tel Aviv/Israel, the King Faisal Centre for Islamic Research and Studies in Riyadh/Saudi Arabia, as well as the Council for British Research in the Levant.

In 2002-03, I was one of two Germans to join the American Political Science Association's Congressional Fellowship Program which provided me with unique insights into the foreign-policy making process in the United States. In 2007, the German Middle East Studies Association (DAVO) recognized my research with an award for the best PhD dissertation of the year.

I have been a frequent commentator for UK and international media on terrorism and counterterrorism, US foreign policy, as well as the domestic and international politics of North Africa and the Middle East.


  • Director Centre for Security Studies

Research interests

My research embraces qualitative and quantitative methods in the study of Islamist terrorism, US domestic, foreign and counterterrorism policies, as well as the domestic and international politics of the Arab and Muslim world (extending to Africa and South Asia insofar as this relates to Islamist terrorist groups and US attempts to counter them).

In my critical assessments of the often contentious relationship between the United States and the wider Middle East, I take great care to circumvent and challenge the biases that often mark mutual perceptions. My current research focuses in particular on images of the West and Western policies in Arab and Muslim public debate and public opinion.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • Ph.D. Political Science (International Relations)
  • M.A. Political Science, Islamic Studies, Sociology

Student education

I am convenor and sole contributor to my year three module 'The Politics of Islamism'. This module offers a broad overview of various streams of violent and non-violent Islamist thinking and activism from the early 20th century rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to the later emergence of Al-Qaeda and the so-called 'Islamic State'. Our discussion of Islamist viewpoints on political violence, democratic participation, and women’s rights helps us better understand the political and social role of these movements in the Arab world and beyond.

At postgraduate level, I convene and teach revised and newly introduced modules on 'Terrorism' and 'Counterterrorism'. In these modules, we examine the development of terrorist movements and ideologies across time and political contexts and discuss measures which countries have put in place to counter them.

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Security Studies

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://production2.leeds.ac.uk/phd">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>