Manfred Halpern was born in Germany in 1924 and had to immigrate with his family to the United States in 1937. After serving in the 28th Infantry Division in Europe during World War II, he received a B.A. in literature from UCLA and an M.A. from the School of Advanced International Studies. From 1948 to 1958 he served in the State Department in a variety of intelligence research positions, particularly as an expert on the politics of the Near East and Africa. In 1960 he received the PhD. with distinction from Johns Hopkins University. He came to Princeton in 1958 as Visiting Associate Professor and joined the politics department as a full-time member of the faculty the following year. Since 1968 he has been a professor of politics. He is a Founding Fellow of the American Society for Social Psychiatry and of the Middle East Studies Associate of North America.
Professor Halpern’s earlier work focused on the analysis of problems of fundamental change in the Middle East and North Africa. The Politics of Social Change in the Middle East and North Africa is a classic study that has been reprinted many times. After spending two decades studying political change, he devoted his energies to developing an original theory linking it to personal change and developed a general theory of transformation. This theory aims to describe, explain, and evaluate the creation of fundamentally new and better relations involving the personal, political, historical, and sacred faces of being. His teaching in recent years has concentrated on exploring these concerns in undergraduate courses and graduate seminars. In 1988 Seton Hall University awarded him an honorary degree for his work on the theory of transformation.
Retirement for Professor Halpern will mean continuing to work on his project, Transformation: Its Theory and Practice in Personal, Political, Historical and Sacred Being. The first volume is nearing completion. It explores the varieties of transformative experience in personal and political life, and in both historical and contemporary contexts.