Called “one of the most original thinkers of the current period” and “the great historian of Nationalism,” Liah Greenfeld is University Professor and Professor of Sociology, Political Science, and Anthropology at Boston University. She is the author of Mind, Modernity, Madness: The Impact of Culture on Human Experience (Harvard University Press, 2013) and other books about modern society and culture, including the ground-breaking Nationalism: Five Roads to Modernity (Harvard University Press, 1992) and The Spirit of Capitalism: Nationalism and Economic Growth (Harvard University Press, 2001; Donald Kagan Best Book in European History Prize).
Greenfeld has 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, the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and the Open University, Hong Kong. From 2010 to 2016, she held the position of Distinguished Adjunct Professor at Lingnan University, Hong Kong.
Greenfeld 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 on the subject of “Nationalism and the Mind,” launching the research connecting her previous work on modern culture to a new perspective on mental illness, and in 2011, the Tom Nairn Lecture at the Globalism Research Center, RMIT, Melbourne, Australia.
Other books by Greenfeld include Research Handbook on Nationalism (co-editor with Zeying Wu, Edward Elgar, 2020) Nationalism: A Short History (Brookings Institution Press, 2019); Advanced Introduction to Nationalism (Edward Elgar, 2016); Globalization of Nationalism: The Motive-Force Behind Twenty-First Century Politics (ed.) (ECPR Press, 2016); 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, working with her on wide-ranging subjects.
Jonathan Eastwood on Greenfeld’s work to 2004 Introduction_Nationalism_Mind (PDF)
In another life–before Liah Greenfeld 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 poetry (and a bust of Pushkin) at 16 and publishing a collection of poems, under a properly Russified alias in Komsomol’skaya Pravda.
Liah Greenfeld on her family in Russia LivingHistory (PDF)