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The Nature of Nationalism in the Modern World

Professor Liah Greenfeld is an expert on the phenomenon of nationalism. She has held appointments as the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of Social Science at Harvard University, visiting professor at the École des Hautes Ludes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and visiting associate professor in political science at MIT. At each of these institutions, Professor Greenfeld taught courses relating to the role of nationalism in shaping society, defining cultural identity, and in some cases providing the source and the justification for ethnic conflict. Greenfeld now teaches Political Science and Sociology at Boston University, where she focuses on the sociology of Russian and East European cultures and societies, as well as the cultural foundations of modernity on a world level. Greenfeld approaches the subject of ethnic conflict as a potential consequence of nationalism, and traces its roots to a culture's affinity for a nationalist state.

Professor Greenfeld has been the recipient of many research awards, including a Mellon Fellowship in 1984, and a John M. Olin Research Fellowship in 1987. A prolific writer, Dr. Greenfeld's books include Center: Ideas and Institutions (1989), Different Worlds: A Study in the Sociology of Taste, Choice, and Success in Art (1989), and Nationalism: Five Roads to Modernity (1992). Dr. Greenfeld is currently studying national identity and political change in Russia, as well as a comparative analysis on the economic implications of nationalism. Greenfeld will be joining us at the Athenaeum to discuss the effect of nationalism on ethnic conflict as part of the series Ethnic Conflict in the Modern World cosponsored by the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies.