Curator of European Ethnology in the Peabody Museum at Harvard University
Michael Herzfeld is Ernest E. Monrad Professor of the Social Sciences in the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University, where has taught since 1991, and is Director of the Asia Center’s Thai Studies Program in Harvard’s Asia Center. He is also Honorary Professorial Fellow in the Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne; IIAS Visiting Professor of Critical Heritage Studies, Leiden University; Senior Advisor, Critical Heritage Studies Initiative, International Institute of Asian Studies, Leiden; and Chang Jiang Scholar, Shanghai International Studies University. He is the author of eleven books (Ours Once More: Folklore, Ideology, and the Making of Modern Greece (1982), The Poetics of Manhood: Contest and Identity in a Cretan Mountain Village, Anthropology through the Looking-Glass: Critical Ethnography in the Margins of Europe (1987), A Place in History: Social and Monumental Time in a Cretan Town (1991), The Social Production of Indifference: The Symbolic Roots of Western Bureaucracy (1992), Cultural Intimacy: Social Poetics in the Nation-State (1997; further revised editions 2005, 2016), Portrait of a Greek Imagination: An Ethnographic Biography of Andreas Nenedakis (1997), Anthropology: Theoretical Practice in Culture and Society (2001), The Body Impolitic: Artisans and Artifice in the Global Hierarchy of Value (2004), Evicted from Eternity: The Restructuring of Modern Rome (2009), and Siege of the Spirits: Community and Polity in Bangkok (2016).) Several of his books have appeared, or are scheduled to appear, in other languages (Greek, Italian, French, Portuguese, Serbian, Croatian, Polish, Korean, and Chinese; a chapter of another has appeared in Japanese). He also filmed and produced Monti Moments: Men's Memories in the Heart of Rome (2007) and Roman Restaurant Rhythms (2011). He has also authored numerous articles and reviews. His honors include the Chicago Folklore Prize (co-winner) for 1981, the J.B. Donne Prize on the Anthropology of Art (1989) and the Rivers Memorial Medal (1994) (both from the Royal Anthropological Institute, London), and the J.I. Staley Prize (by the School of American Research, 1994). In 1997 Herzfeld was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In addition to a D.Phil. from Oxford University (1976) and a D.Litt. from the University of Birmingham (1989), he holds honorary doctorates from the Université Libre de Bruxelles (2005), the University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki (2011), and the University of Crete (2013), and has been named an Honorary Professor of Shandong University (P.R.C.) for 2013-2018 and of the Southwestern University of Nationalities (Chengdu, P.R. China) for 2014-17. In the autumn of 2013 he held a Visiting Fellowship at King’s College, Cambridge, and served as Visiting William Wyse Professor at Cambridge University.
A former president of the Modern Greek Studies Association and of the Society for the Anthropology of Europe, he is affiliated with programs at Thammasat University, Bangkok and Università “La Sapienza,” Rome, and has held various visiting appointments at the universities of Manchester, Paris-X (Nanterre), Ecole des Hautes Etudes (Paris), Melbourne, Padova, Cagliari, Messina, and Malta. A member of the editorial boards of American Ethnologist, Ethnologie Française, and International Journal of Heritage Studies and several other journals, he has served as editor of American Ethnologist (1995-98) and is currently editor-at-large (responsible for “Polyglot Perspectives”) at Anthropological Quarterly. A past president of both the Modern Greek Studies Association and the Society for the Anthropology of Europe, he is now Editor at Large with specific responsibility for the feature "Polyglot Perspectives" in Anthropological Quarterly; he serves on numerous other journal boards and is currently co-editor of “New Anthropologies of Europe” (Indiana University Press) and an editorial board member for “Asian Heritages” (Amsterdam University Press).
His research in Greece, Italy, and Thailand has most recently addressed the social and political impact of historic conservation and gentrification, the dynamics of nationalism and bureaucracy, and the ethnography of knowledge among artisans and intellectuals. His field research has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, the Spencer Foundation, and the American Council of Learned Societies. This fall he will deliver the Lewis Henry Morgan Lectures at the University of Rochester and the annual Stavros Niarchos Lecture at Yale University, a major address in Modern Greek Studies at Georgia State University, and the Opening Lecture at the newly founded Center for the Study of Nationalism at the University of Copenhagen.