Professor Michael Herzfeld is Awarded Honorary Doctorate

16 June 2023

In this summer’s graduation ceremonies, Professor Michael Herzfeld was awarded the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, for major contributions to Anthropology and Area Studies. Professor Herzfeld is Ernest E Monrad Research Professor of the Social Sciences in the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University. He is one of the most influential anthropologists of the past fifty years, whose credentials stretch across disciplines to Classics, Modern Languages, Modern Greek Studies, and comparative area studies.  

Professor Herzfeld’s agenda to unearth the imperial apparatus behind state governance and sustained subjugation of people in southern Europe and southeast Asia, while debunking ideas of exoticisation and legacies of colonialism, align with St Andrews’ worldviews on multicultural understanding, ethical reflection on issues of diversity and inclusion, and global academic excellence. His contribution to St Andrews has been established over the course of 30 years, where he has participated in workshops – including the acclaimed 2005 Ways of Knowing event – examined PhD theses and delivered the Department’s ‘Ladislav Holy Memorial Lecture’, the named lecture in honour of our founder. 

Professor Herzfeld is a generational and discipline-defining anthropologist and social commentator, dedicated to critiquing power relations between genders, the state, colonisers and colonised, and academics and their subjects of study. He has led the field in ‘de-exoticizing’ anthropology, opening up a discipline that until the 1980s had been preoccupied with finding ‘The Other’ in far-flung corners of the globe. As a proponent of so-called ‘anthropology at home’, he lay the cornerstones for the ethnographic study of Europe – a legacy that lives on strongly in the Department of Social Anthropology at St Andrews.