Skip to main content

Jessica R. Greenberg

Profile picture for Jessica R. Greenberg

Contact Information

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


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


2014    After the Revolution: Youth, democracy, and the politics of disappointment in Serbia. Stanford University Press. (Introduction included for review)


2022    Disappointment. (coauthored with Sarah Muir). Annual Review of Anthropology. 51:307–23.

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

2020    Law, politics, and efficacy at the European Court of Human Rights. American Ethnologist. 47(4): 417-431.

2017    Beyond East and West: Solidarity politics and the absent/present state in the Balkans. (coauthored with Ivana Spasić) Slavic Review vol. 76 (2): 315-326.

2012    Gaming the System: Semiotic Indeterminacy and Political Circulation in the New  Age of Revolution. Language & Communication, (32)4: 372–385.

2011    On the Road to Normal: Negotiating Agency and State Sovereignty in Postsocialist Serbia. American Anthropologist (113)1: 88-100.

2006     ’Goodbye Serbian Kennedy:’ Zoran Djindjic and the New Democratic Masculinity. East  European Politics and Societies (20)1: 126-151. (Reprinted 2013 in Irena Grudzińska- Gross and Andrzej Tymowski, eds. Eastern Europe: Women in Transition. Frankfurt: Peter Lang: 285-306.)

2006      Nationalism, Masculinity and Multicultural Citizenship in Serbia. Nationalities Papers. (34)3: 321-341.

2006      Noć Reklamozdera: Democracy, Consumption, and the Contradictions of Representation in Post-Socialist Serbia. Political and Legal Anthropology Review:

              (29)2: 181-207.

Book Chapters

2021    Pedagogies of context: Language Ideology and expression rights at the European Court of Human Rights. In Stanislaw Gozdz Roszkowski and Gianluca Pontrandolfo, eds. Law, Language and the Courtroom: Legal Linguistics and the Discourse of Judges. London: Routledge.

2018    Jurisdiction, Politics, and Truth- Making International Courts and the Formation of Translocal Legal Cultures In Alter, Karen, Laurence Helfer, Mikael Rask Madsen. International Court  Authority. Oxford University Press.

2016    “Being and Doing Politics: Moral Ontologies and Ethical Ways of Knowing at the End of the Cold War.” In Othon Alexandrakis, ed. Impulse to Act. A New Anthropology of  Resistance and Social Justice. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

2007 The Old World and its New Economy: Notes on the Third Age in Western Europe Today JR Greenberg, A Muehlebach Global Ages: Youth, Age, and Family in the New World Economy, 190-213.


Databases and Applications

Greenberg, Jessica, Krupp, Benjamin, and Auer, Stephanie . European Court of Human Rights Mapping Project. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2021-12-02.…;


2022    “Compromise, Complicity and the Rule of Law.” Anthropology News,…

2020    “The Road from Imagination to Politics,” (commentary on the work of Maja Petrović-Šteger). Ethnološka tribina: Journal of Croatian Ethnological Society, Vol 50, No 43.

2018    “When is Justice Done?” Cultural Anthropology “Conversations” Series

2017    “Times of Reckoning: History, Evidence and Truth-making after Yugoslavia,” Humanity Journal.

2016    “Revolution” entry for the International Encyclopedia of Anthropology. Ed. Hilary Callon. New York: Wiley Blackwell.

2008    “ Reconsidering Postsocialism from the Margins of Europe: Hope, Time and Normalcy in Post-Yugoslav Societies” (Andrew Gilbert, Jessica Greenberg, Elissa Helms, Stef Jansen), Anthropology News.