Liah Greenfeld

University Professor of Sociology, Political Science and Anthropology

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Ph.D., Hebrew University

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Liah Greenfeld has been widely published on questions of art, economics, history, language and literature, philosophy, politics, religion, and science, and has studied the cultures of England/Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, China, Japan, Russia/Soviet Union, Israel, and the USA. Upon the publication of Nationalism: Five Roads to Modernity (Harvard University Press, 1992), she has emerged… Read more

Liah Greenfeld has been widely published on questions of art, economics, history, language and literature, philosophy, politics, religion, and science, and has studied the cultures of England/Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, China, Japan, Russia/Soviet Union, Israel, and the USA. Upon the publication of Nationalism: Five Roads to Modernity (Harvard University Press, 1992), she has emerged as a preeminent authority on nationalism, a distinction reinforced by the publication of The Spirit of Capitalism: Nationalism and Economic Growth (Harvard University Press, 2001; Donald Kagan Best Book in European History Prize). The third volume in her trilogy on the political, economic, and psychological aspects of modern culture is Mind, Modernity, Madness: The Impact of Culture on Human Experience (Harvard University Press, 2013).

Professor Greenfeld is Distinguished Adjunct Professor at Lingnan University, Hong Kong, where she usually spends a month each year. Previously, she held the positions of Assistant as well as John L. Loeb Associate Professor of Social Sciences at Harvard University between 1985 and 1994, and in 1994 joined Boston University as a University Professor and Professor of Political Science and Sociology. She has also held visiting positions at RPI, MIT, and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and has been a recipient of the UAB Ireland Distinguished Visiting Scholar Award, fellowships from the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, New Jersey, the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, D.C., the Institute for Advanced Studies in Jerusalem, Israel, and grants from Mellon, Olin, Earhart, The National Council for Soviet & East European Research, and The German Marshall Fund of the United States. In 2004, she delivered the Gellner lecture at the London School of Economics and in 2011, the Tom Nairn Lecture at the Globalism Research Center, RMIT, Melbourne, Australia.

Other books by Professor Greenfeld include The Ideals of Joseph Ben-David: The Scientist’s Role and Centers of Learning Revisited (ed.) (Transaction Publishers, 2012); Nationalism and the Mind: Essays on Modern Culture (Oxford: Oneworld, 2006); Different Worlds: A Study in the Sociology of Taste, Choice, and Success in Art (Cambridge University Press, 1989); and Center: Ideas and Institutions (ed.) (University of Chicago Press, 1988). Greenfeld’s works have been translated into 10 languages and have attracted a steady stream of visiting scholars from all corners of the globe.

In another life–before she moved with her parents from Russia to Israel in 1972–she tried her hand at being, first, a child-prodigy, playing violin on TV at the age of 7, and then a poet, receiving the Krasnodar Region’s Second Prize for it (and a bust of Pushkin) at 16 and publishing a collection of poems, under a properly Russified alias in Komsomol’skaya Pravda.

 

    In the Media

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    • Experts Media Alert: What draws people to join terrorist groups?

      October 15, 2014

      Mohammed Hamzah Khan, a 19-year-old man from Chicago, was arrested by the FBI at O’Hare International Airport as he tried to travel to Syria to allegedly join ISIS. According to the New York Times, he is the tenth person charged by the Justice Department for trying to travel abroad to join a terrorist organization. Why […]

    • Mental health ‘key to tackle terrorism’

      September 25, 2014

      AAP Liah Greenfeld, College of Arts & Sciences A leading researcher believes one of the solutions to tackling home-grown terrorism is to treat it like a mental health issue. Boston University academic Liah Greenfeld has written extensively on the psychological and social reasons why people, especially young men, are attracted to terrorist groups… Expert quote: “We […]

    • Uncovering the face of homegrown terrorism

      April 17, 2014

      Huffington Post Live Liah Greenfeld, College of Arts & Sciences The Boston Marathon bombing continues to raise new questions on the growing threat of homegrown terrorism. As law enforcement become adept at identifying terrorists outside the U.S., how do we stop the extremists in our own backyard?… View video of expert Liah Greenfeld

    • The Maddening of the United States of America

      July 28, 2013

      Daily News & Analysis By Liah Greenfeld, College of Arts & Sciences The relative global decline of the United States has become a frequent topic of debate in recent years… View full article

    • Nationalism, Madness, and Terrorism

      May 17, 2013

      Project Syndicate By Liah Greenfeld, College of Arts & Sciences If we want to understand what drove the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, to terrorism, the answer almost certainly does not lie in Dagestan, where the brothers lived before moving to the United States, or in the two wars fought in Chechnya […]

    • The roots of Chinese-Japanese animosity

      September 30, 2012

      Taipei Times By Liah Greenfeld, College of Arts & Sciences This changed dramatically with the Chinese government’s restoration of a capitalist economy… View article

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