Long Bio

Vivien A. Schmidt is Jean Monnet Professor of European Integration, Professor of International Relations in the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, and Professor of Political Science at Boston University, as well as Founding Director of BU’s Center for the Study of Europe.  She received her B. A. cum laude from Bryn Mawr College, her M.A. and Ph.D from the University of Chicago, and also attended Sciences Po, Paris.

Schmidt’s areas of scholarly interest are European political economy, institutions and democracy, as well as political theory (most notably on the role of ideas and discourse in political analysis–‘discursive institutionalism’).  Her books include Europe’s Crisis of Legitimacy: Governing by Rules and Numbers in the Eurozone (Oxford 2020) in addition to The European Union’s Engagement with Transnational Policy Networks (co-ed. with S. Kingah and W. Yong—Routledge, 2016), Resilient Liberalism in Europe’s Political Economy (co-ed with M. Thatcher—Cambridge 2013), Debating Political Identity and Legitimacy in the European Union (co-ed. with S. Lucarelli and F. Cerutti—Routledge, 2010), Democracy in Europe (Oxford 2006; French translation, La Découverte 2010), Public Discourse and Welfare State Reform (V. Schmidt et al.—Mets & Schilt, 2005), Policy Change and Discourse in Europe (co-ed with C. Radaelli– Routledge 2005), The Futures of European Capitalism (Oxford 2002), Welfare and Work in the Open Economy (co-author vol. 1, co-ed vol. 2 with Fritz W. Scharpf—Oxford 2000); From State to Market? The Transformation of French Business and Government (Cambridge l996), and Democratizing France (Cambridge l990).  She is also the author of over two hundred chapters in books and articles published in refereed journals such as the Annual Review of Political Science, World Politics, Governance, Review of International Political Economy, Political Studies, West European Politics, Journal of Common Market Studies, Journal of European Public Policy, Revue Française de Science Politique, Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, and Daedalus. She has additionally presented over 400 academic papers, lectures, and/or acted in chair/discussant roles at professional association meetings, universities, and other venues.

Schmidt received an honorary doctorate from the Free University of Brussels (ULB) in 2008, was awarded the Franqui Interuniversity Chair in 2007, the most prestigious award in Belgium for foreign scholars, and was named a Jean Monnet Chair by the European Union Commission in 2001. She was also decorated by the French government as a Chevalier in the Order of the Palmes Académiques, and honored by the University of Massachusetts Boston with the Distinguished Scholar Award. Her book, Democracy in Europe, was named by the European Parliament and its President one of the top one hundred books written on the European Union since its founding (2015–‘One Hundred Books on Europe to Remember’ http://www.europarl.europa.eu/100books/en/list.htm) while her book, Democratizing France, received a special award at the Gaston Defferre Prize Ceremony in Marseilles (1992). Additionally, the International Political Economy section of the International Studies association honored her with the SWIPE award for mentoring women.  In 2018, she received a Guggenheim Fellowship for a project on the “rhetoric of discontent,” in which she extends her comparative work to the US in a transatlantic investigation of the populist revolt against globalization (and Europeanization). In 2019, she was received the European Union Studies Association Lifetime Achievement Award. She was also named a Chevalier in the French Legion of Honor.

Among other research awards is a Research Fellowship from the European Commission, DG ECFIN, and co-investigator in the Horizon 2020 grant ENLIGHTEN ‘European Legitimacy in Governing through Hard Times: The Role of European Networks¹ (2015-2018— €2.5 million). She has also been Visiting Research Scholar at the Free University Berlin, at the French National Research Council, and the Rockefeller Center at Bellagio; received a Volkswagen Foundation grant held at the Max Planck Institute, Cologne, as well as Fulbright Fellowships held at Oxford University, the University of Paris, and a Fulbright-Hays pre-dissertation fellowship held at Sciences Po, Paris.

With regard to recent major institutional grants, she has been director and principal investigator for three substantial EU Commission Delegation grants (2004-5, 2008-9, 2013-14); has been the lead member for Boston University as part of the EU Commission FP7 Grant ‘GR:EEN’ (Global Re-ordering: Evolution through European Networks—2010-2014), for which Warwick was the lead university; and lead member for BU as part of the EU Commission Global Erasmus Mundus Grant for a joint doctoral program—GEM (2010-2015), for which ULB was the lead university. In addition, she received a European Science Foundation Grant for a workshop on her most recent co-edited book, plus numerous home university-sourced grants.

Schmidt has also held appointments as professor at the University of Massachusetts/Boston and as visiting professor at a number of major European universities and institutes, including Sciences Po in Paris, LUISS Guido Carli in Rome, the European University Institute in Florence, the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, Copenhagen Business School and Roskilde University in Denmark, IMT Institute for Advanced Studies in Lucca, the Institute for Advanced Studies in Vienna, and the Universities of Paris and Lille. She has additionally been visiting scholar at Cambridge University, Oxford University, Warwick University, and at Harvard University’s Center for European Studies, where she is a long-time affiliate and co-chair of the Study Group on the European Union.

Professor Schmidt is past head of the European Union Studies Association-USA. She is on the advisory boards of a number of organizations, including the Wissenschaft Zentrum Berlin; Foundation for European Progressive Studies; Institute for European Studies, Brussels Free University; Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute; and the Boston Council on Foreign Relations. She is on numerous editorial boards, including Governance; Review of International Political Economy; Comparative European Politics; West European Politics; European Political Science Review; Journal of European Integration; European Review of International Studies; Politics and Governance; Social Europe Journal; Critique Internationale; Contemporary Italian Politics; Rivista Italiana di Politiche Pubbliche; Post (Italian online); and Revista Universitaria Europa (Spanish).

At BU, Vivien Schmidt is the founding Director of the Center for the Study of Europe (2011 through 2016), and previously directed the Center for International Relations. She was also founding Director of the European Studies program at UMass as well as Director of the Center for Democracy and Development of the McCormack Institute of Public Affairs, where she initiated grant programs focused on Francophone Africa and Southern Africa.

Prof. Schmidt consults widely on issues related to European governance, democracy, and political economy.  Her policy inputs in government venues include the EU Commission (DG ECFIN); the European Parliament, including the Committee on Constitutional Affairs and the Socialist and Democratic Party Grouping; European Social Democratic Party Leaders’ ‘Renaissance for Europe’ Events; French National Assembly, Foreign Affairs Committee; Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Directorate of European Integration; and US government agencies. In addition, she has been keynote speaker, paper presenter, or panelist for think-tanks and foundations, including most recently: CEPS, Brussels; Friedrich Ebert-Stiftung, Berlin; Renner Institute, Vienna; Getulio Vargas Foundation, Rio; CEPAL, Santiago Chile; Foundation for European Progressive Studies, Brussels; Istituto degli Affari Internazionali, Rome; ELIAMEP, Athens; Bruno Kreisky Foundation, Vienna; Watson Institute, Brown University; German Marshall Fund; IFRI (French Institute for International Relations) Paris and Brussels; Kalevi Sorsa Foundation, Helsinki; Netherlands Institute of International Relations ‘Clingendael’; Ditchley Foundation, Oxford; Egmont Institute, Brussels; CSIS—Center for Strategic and International Studies, Wash. D.C.; and Korean Development Institute.

Finally, while English is her native language, she has native fluency in Italian (having lived in Italy from ages 8 to 16) and French (having attended a French lyçée), and has some knowledge of Spanish and German. In addition, she is an accomplished fine art photographer, with recent solo exhibitions in Boston (at Harvard’s Center for European Studies and the Italian Consulate of Boston), New York, and Florence (see her photo website at http://www.vivienschmidt.com).


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