Harry Liebersohn is a Center for Advanced Study Professor of modern Europeanhistory. His research centers on cultural encounters between European andnon-European peoples since the late eighteenth century. He attempts tounderstand how people from diverse cultures communicate in a broad variety ofgeographic settings, especially in North America and the Pacific.
He received his B.A. in history from New College in Sarasota, Florida in 1973and his Ph.D. in history, with a special emphasis on German and intellectualhistory, from Princeton University in 1979. Since then he has written ona wide range of topics, including religion, social theory,travel writing, gift exchange, literature, art and music. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, withhis wife, Dorothee Schneider, and their two cats, Frankie and Johnny.
He is the author of numerous books, including Music and the New GlobalCulture: From the Great Exhibitions to the Jazz Age (University of ChicagoPress, 2019); Fate and Utopia in German Sociology, 1870-1923 (MITPress, 1988); Aristocratic Encounters: European Travelers and NorthAmerican Indians (Cambridge University Press, 1998); The Travelers’World: Europe to the Pacific (Harvard University Press, 2008); and TheReturn of the Gift: European History of a Global Idea (Cambridge University Press,2011). His article, "Discovering Indigenous Nobility: Tocqueville,Chamisso, and Romantic Travel Writing," appeared in The AmericanHistorical Review in 1994. It was awarded the 1995 William Koren,Jr. Prize of the Society for French Historical Studies.
He has held appointments as a fellow or guest at the Center for the Humanities,Wesleyan University (1980-81), the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton(1996-97), the Max Planck Institute for History, Göttingen (2003), theWissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (2006-07), the Max Planck Institute for theHistory of Science, Berlin (2008), and the American Academy in Berlin (Spring2017). During the summers of 2013 and 2014 he co-directed a post-doctoralseminar held respectively under the auspices of the Wissenschaftskolleg zuBerlin and the National Humanities Center, North Carolina. In May 2015 he wasVisiting Professor at CentralEuropean University and Eötvös University, Budapest. He is a recentrecipient of a Humboldt Research Award, a lifetime achievement prize awarded bythe Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Frequently asked to give academicpresentations, in October 2018 he gave the Zhu Kezhen Distinguished Lectures atZheziang University, China.