Institute of International Studies; University of California, Berkeley



Christopher Hitchens

Author and Journalist

2002 Sanford S. Elberg Lecturer in International Studies
April 25, 2002
Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

Internationalism in the Wake of September 11th

A Contrarian's View

Christopher Hitchens is one of the most compelling voices in Anglo-American journalism. A remarkable commentator and public speaker by any measure, Mr. Hitchens' fearless assault on hypocrisy and cant in and outside of the U.S. imperium is without peer. Born in Portsmouth, England, in 1949, Hitchens read Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Balliol College, Oxford, graduating in 1970. A major figure in the British New Left -- Hitchens's first book in 1971 was on the Paris Commune -- his prodigious output over the last three decades has encompassed an astonishing array of issues including Cyrpus, the Elgin Marbles, Palestine, the United Nations, the plight of the Kurds, and writers in the public sphere. The author of over fifteen books, Hitchens's trademark wit and formidable analytical powers have been brought to bear on such widely disparate characters as Bill Clinton, Mother Teresa, Henry Kissinger, and Lady Diana. A committed internationalist and a self-declared "contrarian," Christopher Hitchens has been described by Jonathan Raban as one part Balliol dandy, one part pit bull terrier. A man of the Left, Mr. Hitchens is, however, rarely predictable and never prone to cliché or political convention. His writing on the September 11th attacks, on abortion, and on the homilies of the Left, for example, have stirred much controversy and debate. Christopher Hitchens's entire career speaks eloquently to a truly independent and critical intelligence in the tradition of I.F. Stone. He combines a breadth and a flair that is unmatched in contem-porary political letters. Hitchens has written a weekly column "Minority Report" for The Nation for almost twenty years, and is a regular contributor to The London Review of Books, the New Left Review, and The Times Literary Supplement. He began his career as a staff writer for the New Statesman and then worked for the Evening Standard and the Daily Express. Mr. Hitchens has also been Washington editor for Harpers, and is currently a contributing editor to Vanity Fair. His most recent book is Letters to a Young Contrarian (Verso, 2002). He has held visiting academic appointments at the New School for Social Research, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of California, Berkeley. Christopher Hitchens resides with his family in Washington, DC.

Read the Conversations with History interview with Christopher Hitchens: A Dissenting Voice, or watch the interview in streaming video.

See Hitchens's Elberg lecture in streaming video.

About the Sanford S. Elberg Lecture in International Studies

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