Ian Buruma

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Ian Buruma
Ian buruma 2006.jpg
Ian Buruma talks with an attendee at the 2006 Texas Book Festival.
Born (1951-12-28) December 28, 1951 (age 62)
The Hague, Netherlands
Occupation Writer, Lecturer
Nationality Dutch
Genre Non-fiction
Subject China, Japan, Occidentalism, Orientalism

Ian Buruma (born December 28, 1951) is a Dutch writer and academic. Much of his work focuses on the culture of Asia, particularly that of China and 20th-century Japan.


He was born in The Hague, the Netherlands, to a Dutch father and British mother. He studied Chinese literature at Leiden University, and then Japanese film at Nihon University in Tokyo. He has held a number of editorial and academic positions, and has contributed numerous articles to The New York Review of Books. He has been noted as a "well-regarded European intellectual."[1]

In 2000 he delivered the Huizinga LectureNeoromanticism of writers in exile – in the Pieterskerk in Leiden, The Netherlands. He has held fellowships at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, D.C and St Antony's College, Oxford. In 2003 he became Luce Professor of Democracy, Human Rights & Journalism at Bard College, New York.

Since 2005 he has resided in New York, USA.

In 2008 Buruma was awarded the Erasmus Prize, which is awarded to an individual who has made "an especially important contribution to culture, society or social science in Europe."[2]

He is among the 100 top global thinkers of 2010, as selected by the Foreign Policy magazine.[3] His contribution as a public intellectual, according to the magazine, is as follows:

Many liberals these days seem at pains to establish their bona fides as tough-minded hawks when it comes to global threats, but the Dutch man of letters has made a career out of affirming the classic liberalism of the open-door variety. His writing in recent years has attracted the ire of critics who think he equivocates on the dangers of radical Islam, but Ian Buruma made his response this year with a typically judicious and politically relevant book, Taming the Gods, that reflects on the Western capacity for religious pluralism. According to Buruma, Western society is robust enough to embrace even illiberal practices, so long as these are not violent. "Living with values that one does not share," he wrote in a recent column on France's burqa ban, "is a price to be paid for living in a pluralist society."

Buruma is a nephew of the English film director John Schlesinger, with whom he published a series of interviews in book form.[4]



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