He was born in The Hague, the Netherlands, to a Dutch father and English 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 was been noted as a "well-regarded European intellectual as well as being "arrogant and narrow-minded"., while his writings have been criticised as reliant on stereotypes.
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.
Interview: Ian Buruma discusses the roots of Islamic extremism as told in his book "Occidentalism: The West in the Eyes of Its Enemies"
Mar 17, 2004; NEAL CONAN Talk of the Nation (NPR) 03-17-2004 Interview: Ian Buruma discusses the roots of Islamic extremism as told in his book...
Dissidents in Disneyland ; Bad Elements: Chinese Rebels from Los Angeles to Beijing. By Ian Buruma. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. 341 pp, (pounds) 20 sterling
May 25, 2002; Western sympathy for Communist bloc dissidents is always a little suspect. If it honours the courage of men and women who speak...