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Dr. Jessica R Greenberg

Profile picture for Dr. Jessica R Greenberg

Contact Information

109 Davenport Hall
607 S. Mathews Ave
M/C 148
Urbana, IL 61801
Associate Professor


Jessica Greenberg is an associate professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  Prior to coming toUIUC, Greenberg was an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, and an assistant professor in Communication Studies at Northwestern University. She recently earned a Master of Studies in Law at the College of Law, University of Illinois. She is also currently the Co-Editor of the Political and Legal Anthropology Review (PoLAR).

Research Interests

Anthropology of democracy, legal studies, youth, social movements, revolution, Serbia/Balkans, Europe, Human Rights

Research Description

My work is motivated by along-standing interest in the everyday life of social movements, as well as the hopes and disappointments that have animated democratic political activism after the Cold War. My firstbook, After the Revolution: Youth, Democracy, and the Politics of Disappointment in Postsocialist Serbia (Stanford 2014) chronicles the lives of student activists as they confront the possibilities and disappointments of democracy in the shadow of recent political transformation in Serbia. In exploring the everyday practices of student activists—their triumphs and frustrations—After the Revolution argues that disappointment is not a failure of democracy but a fundamental feature of how people live and practice it.

My current research builds on my long-standing interests indemocratic practice, activismand power in the context of European integration. Drawing on ethnographic field research at the European Court for Human Rights, I examine how new definitions of European belonging and democratic practice are being defined through the legal management of citizens as rights bearing subjects. I analyze how rights in practice are produced through legally-mediated battles over sovereignty as pan-European courts attempt to deal with the specter of threats to European democracy.


MSL, University of Illinois, College of Law, 2017
PhD, Anthropology, University of Chicago, 2007
BA, Women's and Gender Studies, Columbia University 1997

Awards and Honors

2016-2017 LAS Study in a Second Discipline, Law
LAS Conrad Humanities Scholar

Courses Taught

515 Social Theory and Ethnography
599 Anthropology of Time and Temporality
488 Modern Europe
372 Talking Politics
199 Cultures of Law

Additional Campus Affiliations

Associate Professor, Anthropology
Associate Professor, Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory
Associate Professor, Slavic Languages and Literatures
Associate Professor, European Union Center
Director of Graduate Studies, Anthropology

Honors & Awards

2016-2017 LAS Study in a Second Discipline, Law
LAS Conrad Humanities Scholar

Highlighted Publications

Greenberg, J. R. (2014). After the Revolution: Youth, Democracy, and the Politics of Disappointment in Serbia. Stanford University Press.

View all publications on Illinois Experts

Recent Publications

Greenberg, J. R. (2024). Justice suspended: Rethinking institutions, regimentation, and channels from a human rights law perspective. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 34(1), 45-65.

Greenberg, J., & Muir, S. (2022). Disappointment. Annual Review of Anthropology, 51, 307-323.

Greenberg, J. (2021). Counterpedagogy, Sovereignty, and Migration at the European Court of Human Rights. Law and Social Inquiry, 46(2), 518-539.

Greenberg, J., & Winegar, J. (2021). Pandemic Journal Editing and Refusing a Return to Normal. Political and Legal Anthropology Review, 44(1), 3-6.

Greenberg, J. R. (2021). Pedagogies of Context: Language Ideology and Expression Rights at the European Court of Human Rights. In S. Goźdź-Roszkowski, & G. Pontrandolfo (Eds.), Law, Language and the Courtroom: Legal Linguistics and the Discourse of Judges (pp. 147-159). Routledge.

View all publications on Illinois Experts