Michael Bernhard
Michael Bernhard

Raymond and Miriam Ehrlich Eminent Scholar Chair


Michael H. Bernhard is the inaugural holder of the Raymond and Miriam Ehrlich Eminent Scholar Chair in Political Science at the University of Florida. Since June 1, 2017 he has assumed the responsibility of editor-in-chief of Perspectives on Politics. For content see our website on Cambridge Core.

Bernhard’s academic work centers on questions of democratization and development both globally and in the context of Europe. Among the issues that have figured prominently in his research agenda are the role of civil society in democratization, institutional choice in new democracies, the political economy of democratic survival, and the legacy of extreme forms of dictatorship. He recently finished up a stint as a co-PI on the research side of the Varieties of Democracy project and is responsible for its batteries on civil society and state sovereignty.

Prior to coming to Florida, Bernhard was on the faculty of Penn State University for twenty years. He has also been a visiting researcher at the Institute of Sociology and Philosophy at Warsaw University and the Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. He has delivered public lectures at a large number of public and private universities in the North America, Asia, and Europe, and has conducted archival and field work in Poland, Germany, England, and Hungary.

In his career Bernhard has held a number of important administrative responsibilities — chair of the APSA section on European Politics and Society, chair of the Network on the Historical Study of States and Regimes of the Council on European Studies, member of the editorial board of Penn State Press, and the chair of the editorial committee of the newsletter of the comparative democratization section of the American Political Science Association.

Bernhard received his BA from the University of Pennsylvania, and has graduate degrees from Yale (M.A. Russian and East European Studies), and Columbia (Ph.D. Political Science). He has taken short-term courses of study at the Louis Kossuth University in Debrecen (Hungary), Jagellonian University in Krakow (Poland), the Catholic University of Lublin (Poland), and Goethe Institute in Boppard am Rhein (Germany).

Contact Information


Phone: (352) 273-2387

Fax: (352) 392-8127

204 Anderson Hall
1507 W. University Avenue

Office Hours: 
T 1:00-3:00

Mailing address:
Department of Political Science
University of Florida
PO Box 117325 Anderson Hall
Gainesville, FL 32611