Skip to main content

School of Social and Political Science: Staff profiles


Liliana Riga

Liliana Riga
Dr Liliana Riga
Senior Lecturer
6.24 Chrystal Macmillan Building 15a George Square Edinburgh SCOTLAND EH8 9LD
+44 (0)131 651 1853


Ph.D. Sociology (McGill University)

M.A. Political Science (Columbia University)

B.A. Political Science (University of California, Berkeley)


  • 'Refugees and Humanitarianism' (Honours)
  • Sociology 2A: 'Experiencing social inequalities' (Undergraduate)


  • nationalist rightism, racism and immigration
  • refugees, refugeedom and humanitarianism
  • US nationhood and ethnic/racial history
  • nationalism and nation-building

As a political and comparative historical sociologist, my research seeks to understand the political subjectivities that inhere to experiences of racism and ethnic / cultural or political exclusion in connection with modern nationbuilding. I explore  how the political subject and political subjectivities are constituted and with what consequences, paying particular attention to state and political strategies and inequalities, nation-building nationalism and racism.

I am working on an extended monograph, The Americanization Moment: Nation, Race, Civil Society. This research explores the enormous assimilatory and racialised Americanization efforts of the US Gilded and Progressive Eras in the decades between 1890 and 1930. This critical nation-building moment permanently and radically reshaped the US's racial and immigration politics, the social role of labour, its welfare state, social inequalities and the character of its civil society. I attempt a re-interpretation of the roles of race, nation and civil society in this key nationalist and nation-building moment in American history. This project has also involved, with Y. Shimohira-Calvo, the curation of a original, large-scale and rare historical data set on 38,300 labour strikes / lockouts between 1881-1905 – a crucial period of US immigration and industrialization. RCLinUS (Race, Citizenship and Labour in the US) and data analysis can be followed at GitHub:

Select Publications


(in preparation) The Americanization Moment: Nation, Race, Civil Society

(forthcoming, Riga et al. 2020) Young Refugees and Forced Displacement: Navigating Everyday Life in Beirut (Routledge)

(forthcoming) J. Kennedy and L. Riga. Nation-Builders: How American Ideas, Practices and Powers Shaped East Central Europe

(in press) The Bolsheviks and the Russian Empire (Chinese Edition, Zhejiang University Press]

2012 [2014, paperback] The Bolsheviks and the Russian Empire New York: Cambridge University Press

Select articles / chapters

2019. 'How Homogenous Need America be? Nation, Race and Civility' in F. Duina (ed) Hallsian Perspectives on Nation and States, Powers and Civility University of Toronto Press

2016. 'Ethnicity, class and the social sources of U.S. exceptionalism' in Ralph Schroeder (ed) Global Powers: Mann’s Anatomy of the 20th Century and Beyond Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

2016. L. Riga and J.A. Hall. 'Jewish Conditions, Theories of Nationalism: Cartographical Notes' Nations and Nationalism 22(2): 371-390

2015. 'Ernest Gellner and the Land of the Soviets' Special Issue of Thesis Eleven 128(1): 100-112

2012. L. Riga and J. Kennedy. ''Putting Cruelty First': War Crimes as Human Rights in US Policy in Bosnia and Herzegovina' Sociology 46(5): 861-75

2009. L. Riga and J. Kennedy. 'Tolerant majorities, loyal minorities and 'ethnic reversals': constructing minority rights at Versailles 1919' Nations and Nationalism 15(3): 461-482

2008/9. 'The Ethnic Roots of Class Universalism: Rethinking the 'Russian' Revolutionary Elite' American Journal of Sociology 114(3): 649-705. Winner of 2009 Honorable Mention Award for Best Article in Comparative Historical Sociology, American Sociological Association

If you are interested in being supervised by Liliana Riga, please see the links below for more information:

PhD in Sociology